In my house

In my house there is:

1. A lot of laundry. Most of it clean, since my charming husband uncharacteristically and delightfully hauled off and did a whack of it. (Thanks buddy, you’re a team player.)

2. A pair of finished socks.

agathadone1 2016-04-27

Agatha socks, knit from West Yorkshire Spinners 4 ply in “Cardamom” , I love them. I put them on to take a few pictures, and haven’t taken them off yet. I guess they’re not going in the Christmas box after all.  Whoops.

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agathadone2 2016-04-27

4. A drying skein of yarn that I spun with my own two little hands. It’s gorgeous. I’ll show you tomorrow.

5. All of the handouts and prep for the Knitter’s Frolic this weekend. If you’re in town, you should come.

6. 4895 emails to do with the rather awful death of Prince. Thanks for sending them. When I landed in Denver last week and turned on my phone, I had 57 texts waiting. It was so powerful that by the time I got a message telling me it was Prince and I could open the rest,  I was almost relieved it wasn’t about my Mum. (Who is well and fine and fit and I don’t know why I thought that.)  I was completely shocked as I read through them, and went straight to the Loopy Ewe and bought purple yarn out of some sense of mourning, even though I don’t much like purple.

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It’s remarkable how much the death of someone you didn’t know can matter to you. Prince was the soundtrack for so much of my life. I remember fighting with my Mum to be allowed to take the train downtown when I was a teenager, just so I could see him – I remember the wild conversations with my sister about how much was reasonable to spend on a ticket to see him – and I regret none of it, including that I got grounded for coming in late that first time.  It was worth it. There’s few words to describe the loss. It’s not like the loss of someone who was in my life, I’m a big, grown up woman, and it’s not like I thought we had a relationship on any level, but almost all amazing moments in my life were punctuated by the music he made, and he was of my generation, and so young (therefore) and on top of David Bowie, I just don’t know what to make of it all.

Somehow, despite the fact that our love never came to fruition, and we weren’t friends, and I know that, I’m grateful for what he was in my life, and even more remarkable,  I’m going to miss him – but maybe a little less if I have a purple shawl. I bet you get it.

92 thoughts on “In my house

  1. I definitely get it. Not Prince per se, he didn’t mean anything to me, but plenty of other people I’ve never met did, up to and including the one who died twenty years ago next month and I am totally offering a mass for him. I think it makes us bigger on the inside to have that capacity for caring.

  2. Just sitting here at my desk humming Purple Rain. I am still in such shock. I think that, as women of our generation, the way that her personally embraced his own feminine side (ditto for Bowie) and the way that he supported female musicians touched us deeply.

  3. Knew it would be a horrible loss for you, because that kind of love is a really pure thing, and practical matters aren’t in it. A purple shawl is going to both comfort and remind, and that’s a fine thing.

  4. We get it. There’s a soundtrack to my life, and when a maker of that soundtrack departs, it leaves a hole.

    Purple shawl — oh, yes.

  5. Put the socks in the box, and back slowly away. Do not make eye contact with the socks. Do not acknowledge the socks in any way, shape or form. All will be well.

  6. I totally get it. Prince was also the sound of my coming of age, those years when you thought you were invincible and could do nothing wrong and that you could change the world with a push here and a shove there. I’ve got purple socks on my needles and a raspberry beret in the queue. Hugs, dear friend – though he has gone on, he and his music still live in us.

  7. I get it. I’m still in mourning for Leonard Nimoy and Alan Rickman. Not so much for David Bowie; though I did manage to see the Winnipeg concert of his Serious Moonlight tour back in the 80s. I don’t have any one artist whose soundtrack runs through my whole life, as I have changed and my tastes have changed on an ongoing basis. Nevertheless, I think Led Zeppelin is probably the one band whose music has punctuated most of the pivotal moments in my life, all the more so because Robert Plant comes from my home town and went to school with my brother and socialized with my sister, back in the day. And I did knit a Raspberry Beret some time ago (with matching fingerless gloves) for a good friend in Australia, and the whole time I was knitting it, I was singing the song. Then when I went car shopping with my Corvette-obsessed younger son, I was singing Little Red Corvette until he had to ask me to stop. I wasn’t a fan, but Princie was a part of the soundtrack to the point I was aware of his presence. I’m so sorry for how you must be feeling.

  8. I listened to a great interview between Terri Gross of NPR and Quest Love of the Roots. The part where he talks about his various contacts with Prince was humanizing and touching about both him and Prince. I’m sure you can get the Fresh Air podcast if you want to hear it. It was one of those times I regretted that I had to turn it off and be an adult for something.

    • I was listening to that interview yesterday as I drove to the grocery store and was tempted to sit in the lot and listen some more, but I was on a tight schedule. I made a mental note to pull it up online.

  9. I felt the same when John Lennon died. Something pivotal has just gone out of your life. Some very sad losses recently.

  10. Writers, actors, singers/songwriters, anyone in the Arts. I love that our lives can be touched so deeply by words, plays, movies, music. Yes, the loss is deep, but so was the meaning brought into our lives. My condolences.

  11. When I heard, I immediately thought of you and of all unrequited lovers throughout history. I get it. And I’m so very sorry for all of us.

    P.S.: That blog from back in May of last year has got to be my favorite of yours, ever.

  12. I get it. We’ve lost an incredible talent, musician, artist and philanthropist. I didn’t know him, but I am in mourning for what we have lost. He was Music on Feet, and I too, need a purple shawl.

  13. Well, the first thing I thought when I heared was “oh no! Step will be so devastated!” Now I don’t know you personally either as you weren’t friends with Prince but it doesn’t mean I I didn’t feel empathy for someone I never met.

    So that’s my way of saying, yeah I get it.

  14. My first thought when I heard was of you….

    6 of his songs are back on Billboard top 50 this week and for some reason seeing that made me happier/sadder than anything else. Happy to see the influence, sad that he won’t have another one.

  15. You were the first person I thought of once the initial reaction wore off. I remembered your comments about him, and I knew how sad you’d be. I love that you bought purple yarn and will wear it in tribute.
    Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading over to Youtube to, once again, play the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” that he and some other unimportant people played on.
    PS The socks are lovely
    PPS I can’t tell you how badly I’m itching to drive up from NC for the frolic this weekend. Really, if I weren’t a responsible adult…

  16. Yes, I (we) definitely get it.

    I wonder if so many of us are deeply affected by these recent deaths because these lovely people are part of our generation’s cultural landscape. We’re now of “that” age and staring down the Great Abyss.

    Knit on.

  17. I have had the same sock issue this week. It’s the putting them on for a photo that does it. Think I can only do socks for sizes other than my 6/7s.

    I get it. Not just Prince, but the need to mark the loss of anyone that has had an impact on us in whatever way.
    It’s just unsettling and sad and it’s right to feel and accept that.

  18. I get it – one of my first ever dates as an independent adult was to see the movie “Purple Rain”…I didn’t really know who Prince was and was a little annoyed that this date guy (forgotten his name) was taking me to see something I had no interest in, but I was absolutely mesmerized the whole time watching the movie. I was never a fan like you – my “boyfriend” is Chris Isaak – but Prince touched a generation (or two) and will be greatly missed.

  19. As others have said–indeed, we get it (especially after Bowie, too). I admit, a part of me thought, “Oh, Stephanie will have some of the words I need about this.”
    My Mum was pregnant with me when Purple Rain hit theaters and she went back to see it 4 times. She said she could feel me dancing (but only to Prince songs, apparently) each time.And yes I came into the world with a deep love purple and great boots. Part of the appeal for me, as a multi-racial child was seeing someone like me being precisely themselves and succeeding. But oh, the music!

    Working through grief by making a Prince/Bowie inspired Colour Affection (I have resisted the pattern for so long but I need me a big shawl/cape in light of all this).

    I hope the loss of two artistic geniuses inspire many to wear their Freak/Eccentric/Non-conforming selves loud and proud. I hope many raise their hands and say “I’m a Black Star.” I hope many let themselves shine and make art and go forth an encourage others to do so too.

    Best to you and yours, as always, and to the Blog, too. I’m glad there are so many who understand why my knitting was soaked in purple tears.

    Sorry for the messy post…my heart is too full.

  20. Thank you for posting about prince! I considered emailing you to ask how you were doing, but I wasn’t sure if that would be weird. I am glad that you found some purple yarn to knit a bit of the sadness away. Hugs!

  21. To be honest, I’m getting a little afraid to check the news online. Bowie, Glenn Frey, Alan Rickman, Patty Duke, and now Prince — it seems so many people I enjoyed in my childhood and youth are passing away. Gad!

    So, I get it. Can’t wait to see you playing in your purple shawl . . .

    BTW: The Agatha socks turned out well. Are you going to get all Miss Marple on us?

  22. I 100% feel the same way about Prince. I never went to see him and now I regret it. I honest to god lost two days of productive work to mourning a guy I never met and didn’t even think about that much for the last decade or two.

  23. Totally get it. And hey, I finally finished my Rhinebeck sweater. It’s purple and I wore it to a Donny Osmond concert last month. The first concert I ever went to was The Osmond Brothers, in Madison Square Garden (1972ish). My aunt Anne took us for my sister’s 13th birthday -me, my 3 sisters and 2 cousins. Now all these years later, it was back to see Donny with my sister Kim. The soundtrack of our lives. RIP Prince

  24. There you are, I wondered how that landed on you when I heard which is odd because I don’t know either one of you….

  25. Yesterday I thought, who, if anyone, can put words to these strangely uncomfortable feelings I’m having about Prince dying. Though I rarely ever thought about him, his songs hang out in my psyche, in my present, reminding me of how I got through some very real, rough times. You did it. You rock, Stephanie. Thank you.

  26. I get it. I thought of you when I heard of his death, and wondered if you were at the concert last month. I hope you were.

  27. I have been looking forward to pictures of those socks finished — they are beautiful. I wouldn’t want to take them off my feet either. Also love your new cowl. It looks great on you – listen to your mom, the blue is pretty with your eyes. That was a nice compromise for both of you – the gold and the brown with the blue. Anyway, things have been crazy here as well, so I hope we’re all getting back on track soon!

  28. I feel your pain. Glenn Frey passing was a total shock. Bowie only because Mike was so upset. If Joe hasn’t read Bowie’s Piano Man by Mike Garson he might like it. Fab musician in his own right and a great human being.

  29. My brother would constantly decide that getting in trouble for a particular thing was worth it, he would appreciate that it was okay that you got grounded. 🙂

  30. I definitely feel the same way you do about Prince. I never got to see him in concert, and I regret it so much. I got in trouble for going to see Purple Rain twice on the same night. My best friend and I went to the seven o’ clock show, then turned right around and went back for the nine o’clock show, arriving home an hour late for curfew. We didn’t regret it, though. Prince is eternal. <3 the socks, and I probably need a purple knitted thing, too.

  31. I do get it. I cast on a purple cowl with sparkles in homage to Prince. Purple nails too. I never saw him in concert, but everything else that you said.

    Lovely socks! The pattern’s toe, or your modification?

  32. RE: Christmas Socks. Over the years I’ve read your blog you mention how you knit socks that will end up in the LRPB, or you might knit some socks that were destined for the Box that never make it there. I’ve always wondered how you plan for that. A big part of handknit socks for me is that they fit exactly right, but just sort of “knitting socks and they’ll end up with someone” goes against that mentality to me. Do most people on your sock-knitting list have roughly the same size feet or something (because clearly you have to intentionally knit socks for Joe, those can’t just happen)? I ask this mainly because I’m a big sock knitter but my sock stash is rather large for living in someplace where I only need them a few months of the year, so knitting for others would be nice. Also it would give me a change to knit those sock patterns that I can’t modify to fit my extra-wide feet 🙂

    • How would you feel about donating some of the socks you love to knit to a shelter for people who could use some handmade love?

  33. I was absolutely not a Prince fan but I’ve felt the same concerning artists that were the soundtrack of my life so I do understand. It is a big loss.

  34. I need a robot. I need my own tiny little robot, to follow me around all day and carry my cup of coffee for me, so I can have a sip whenever I get to the end of a row and reach out my hand. I don’t care if it’s stone cold by then, when I need a sip, I need a sip.

  35. When I found out about Prince my first thought was “oh no, Stephanie is gonna be so sad” because I remember the post about the concert with your sister and how you would maybe want to run off with him if given the chance.

  36. I double checked, but no. No no. 3… It is on purpose ?
    Besides, the same about Prince, and I too thought of you at once.

  37. I can honestly say that you were the first person I thought of when I heard he died. And I don’t know you either.

    While I will miss him and Bowie, I’m still having issues with Alan Rickman dying.

  38. I get it. I was not a Prince fan, but it’s always a bit of a shock when someone who is so well known leaves the world too early, especially someone who has made such a mark on our culture. Sometimes I think it’s less about the person and more about what creativity there won’t be in the future.

    Tell Joe I am impressed by his laundry skills! My husband will sometimes do a load on his own volition, but then I later find all my clean clothes in a pile on my bed.

  39. Thank you for those thoughts. They help me understand and put in perspective my own feelings regarding, among others recently, the death of Terry Pratchett.
    And I’m sorry for adding one to your huge stack of emails! I should have thought of that…
    But, yes, let’s knit on. Knit purple. Knit loud and knit strong, and knit like music sounds.

  40. I get it. I was driving when I heard the news and had to pull over and call a friend. Being a Minnesotan and living close to Paisley Park he has always been in the background of my life. We loved him so much for the fact that he stayed here in the cold North, went to his local Perkins for after party breakfasts and for simply being so real and kind to all. Such a grave loss (as is anyone who goes so young.) Wishing your purple shawl brings you some comfort Stephanie.

  41. I thought immediately of you when I heard the news. For me it was John Denver. (I do realize how un-cool, and how old, that makes me.) That was pre-social media, but when my husband walked into the bathroom with “that look” on his face I said “Who died?” He said that my best friend had just called, and my first thought, too, was that that meant it was no member of my family, and it wasn’t her. But still, when he told me …

    People sent me sympathy cards – out of sympathy, not in any kind of joking way. I did ok for about a week, and then had a total breakdown of a magnitude that had my husband scoop up our boys and take them out for ice cream. I was a quilter, and I made myself a John Denver quilt, to work myself through the grief.

    So, yeah … I get it.

    • Oh, yes, John Denver. Well if it makes a person uncool, and dates us, so be it. I still sing his songs whenever I can, and this generation just looks on and goes “What the heck was that?” But he had such an insightful and socially aware way about him, and was outspoken about principles and about the kind of world we should be leaving for our children. John Denver was awesome in the best and most literal sense of the word.

  42. For me, it was Sinatra. (I know, that makes me really old and uncool.) So, I get it, Steph. His music got me through many Wee Small Hours at a time in my life when——-

    • No need for that.
      I think Steph would have washed and ironed Prince’s ruffles, for him.

      Steph, you were the first one I thought of, apart from myself. He was a huge part of my life.
      I used to roller skate to Raspberry Beret at the local rink.
      I still have his (cassette tape) albums.

  43. Physically, we may have lost Prince…David Bowie…Glen Frey…but oh, what a legacy they left for us to remember them by. I think that is what I appreciate most about artist and artisans.

    My son sent me the TMZ alert of his death and, like many, I thought it was a hoax. So sad that it was not. I did share your blog about the concert with my family. I think that is the draw of concerts.

    My husband used to be Bruce Springsteen. However, like Steph, I decided that we both had made commitments elsewhere and needed to let our passion die (unless there is that trip to Bermuda!).

  44. I read on one of your posts that you made a trip to Loveland, Colorado. Did you know that there is another Loveland? Yes, Loveland is a suburb of Cincinnati. CINCINNATI!! I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written a plea for you to come here and it’s been too long, so here it is: CINCINNATI needs a visit from the harlot. Maybe during your next book tour. Next to Loveland is Milford, Ohio, home of Fiber Optic Yarns. Come here and can shop in a gradient filled wonderland.

  45. Welcome back! Those socks are beautiful. And I’m glad you shared your thoughts about Prince. Like you, his music was the soundtrack for my formative years. I saw him in concert just once – in 2011 – and it was one of the best performances I’ve ever seen. Also like you, purple is not my favourite colour. But I have a skein of “Purple Rain” – a Cookie A sock club colour inspired by him – and I intend to knit one of her Prince-inspired patterns with it. He was one of a kind.

  46. Somewhere in the commentary about Prince’s death, some talking head said that the grief people express over someone singer/actor/celebrity isn’t grief over someone they didn’t know, it’s grief over someone who helped them know themselves.

  47. I get it….The soundtrack so much of our (mine and my husband’s) crazy days was the Grateful Dead. When Jerry Garcia died, we had an 18 month old and a brand new 1-week old baby. Friends from near and far gathered at our house to play music, reminisce, and meet the new baby. We didn’t know Jerry, but had seen him so many (many!) times and their music connected to so much of our lives…. We took a picture of each person sitting in the rocking chair holding the newest member of the family. It was a sweet and wonderful weekend.

  48. I might have cried at the knowledge of this one…Raspberry Beret was the first song I remember jamming with my dad on! So many memories are linked to Prince, such good music!

    It was a delight to see you at Fling and I hope to learn from you more in the future! Thanks for the book signings and the giggles! *off to practice lever knitting…*

  49. Someone in the last few days, and I don’t know whom to be able to credit them, said that we mourn great artists not because we knew them but because they helped us know ourselves.

    That is some beautiful purple yarn, and the fact that so much is already knitted up is just perfect.

  50. I wanted to see Prince in concert since I was about 12 (I’m almost 43 now) and finally in December of 2013 my friend and I went to see him for the first time. I’m so incredibly glad we did! The show was amazing (of course) and I just remember thinking “I can die now.” Which is horribly morbid, I realize, but that’s how big of a deal it was to me. He was amazingly energetic and hearing that he died so young was a huge shock. I can’t believe we now live in a world where Donald Trump exists and Prince does not. (I’m American.)(I’m sorry.)

  51. I was distraught when I heard the news of P. Still am. There is definitely a light that’s gone out down here on Earth … I just hope he is at peace. x

  52. “Thanks buddy, you’re a team player” I love it – I call my husband dude in the same way. “Dude, that’s terrific”…. people think it’s weird.

  53. I get it … I felt the same way when David Bowie died. He was the soundtrack so my relationship with my best friend, whom I lost almost 10 years ago.

    I’m a year or two older and grew up just down the QEW in Hamilton and remember going to see Purple Rain with all my friends and loving it … it was like another John Hughes film but more raw. I didn’t listen to much of his music after that but he was still an icon of my youth and I jumped at the chance to see him in March at the Sony Centre. I’m sorry for your loss, Steph. It hurts to know there won’t be any ‘new’ creations or fantasy trysts. xo

  54. This homage just inspired me to read all of your Prince posts aloud to my boyfriend. He gets Stephanie read aloud to him from time to time, when I’m particularly inspired. (:
    ps: Your writing reads aloud really well. I read with expression!

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