This is not the way I expected it to be.

I feel like this is pretty much what should be written on the tee shirt I’ve been wearing for the last while.  Finding a way to restructure the family, figuring out a new way to get the hang of all the changes, trying to let go, to move forward.  I keep discovering myself standing in the middle of a something I’ve never lived before, usually with a trashed kitchen and a lot of laundry, one or more people in the family crying or laughing either literally or figuratively, and thinking “this is not the way I expected it to be.”

Grief, grandmotherhood, parenthood, taking down wallpaper – honestly, almost nothing is the way I expected it to be, for better or worse, and I am just so glad that at some point in my life I decided that flexibility (both physical and spiritual) was something I should try to cultivate, and I both went to yoga and tried to get down with new points of view.  I admit, this has had limited success. I accept now that flexibility isn’t going to be the whole secret to happiness (although I swear it helps) and I am now convinced that the rest of it lies in what you choose to say right after you think “This is not the way I expected it to be.”

I’ve been trying really hard to be someone who sort of good naturedly looks at getting a surprise like that and thinks “Good golly I wonder what magic will happen next! Maybe we’re all getting lollipops!” but it turns out that the best I can do might be to surrender all hope of knowing what’s going on, all sense of being invested in my own expectations, and trying for a weakly uttered “Ok then. If someone will bring me a scotch while I take a bath, I think I can re-orient.”

Take today, for instance.  Today is my fourteenth blogiversary.  I have been sitting down at my computer/laptop/macbook for fourteen years, as of today, and writing to you about my knitting and my life and my everything, as often as I have been able.  I am pretty proud of this. I love this relationship between us enough that in the days leading up to this blogiversary, I kept thinking about what I would do to celebrate. A big post. Maybe show you some beautiful pictures, maybe a long letter to you, telling you about the amazing impact you’ve had on my life, and what it means to all of us that you’re here. (I try to do this every year, because it’s a really hard thing to explain.) Then things changed, and plans got altered, and my sister and I played a game of WWMD (What Would Mum Do) and voila.
blog 2018-01-23
This blog post comes to you from a hotel room, where I’m by myself, having trouble connecting to the wifi, hotspotting from my phone at a cost of wool knows what, after a drive to Ottawa that should have  been a simple mission, but wound up being a two day affair involving an ice storm, all so that I can be nearby and present for someone in hospital, only to end up sitting here, more or less quietly,  realizing that the universe isn’t done with the edit to my family and that things are pretty hard here, and that I don’t mean to be vague, just to protect the privacy of someone else and it’s all really sad and ending up with… this is not the way I expected it to be.

I thought that my blogiversary would be different, but as I got to working up a good head of self pity, I realized that it’s actually sort of good, because Blog… when I thought of having a blog, this is not the way I expected it to be.  I thought I would write, you would read and I don’t know what I thought would happen after that, but not this.

I never ever would have expected that after fourteen years, I would sit in a room by myself, a little bit lonely, trying to figure out my next move, realizing that there is no next move, just a simple endurance game, and the magic of showing up, and that what I really need is patience and strength and to hold right on tight and maybe to knit a bit… and to talk to my blog and realize in that moment that you, my blog, you make me less lonely, and one of you is always up, and you always know what to say when things are down, and wing of moth you are so funny, and…

This isn’t what I expected it to be.

Thank you for fourteen years of making this wild ride better. I love you, and I can’t tell you what it means that you’re there.

Now take a gratuitous picture of my grandson while I get on with  it.  See you tomorrow.

ellie 2018-01-23

(PS. If you are feeling traditional, this is the day that donations to my bike ride in the amount of 14 dollars (or a multiple thereof) freaks the daylights right out of PWA.  If I’ve entertained you $14 worth over the last fourteen years, let it rip.)

379 thoughts on “Fourteen

  1. You don’t know me, I seldom comment, but I know you. I think it’s wonderful how you are able to share so much of your life with more or less total strangers. I’m a little bit jealous. I’m so private my own family probably doesn’t know how I feel about most things in life. You are made of total awesome. I love your caring, sharing, abilities and how you think. Thank you for sharing. Others like me (surely there is someone out there like me) truly appreciate you.

        • Well said Jill I’m here and I feel exactly the same way. Life is unexpected and this blog–Stephanie and everyone else who loves you as much as I do–have kept me through a lot of bumps over the years too. Thanks yarn harlot for writing even when you don’t know what to say b/c the words are always perfect.

    • Jill, you described me perfectly! And Stephanie, you give so much through the blog that it is only right that it can offer something back. Take care and stay warm x

    • Just like Jill, I love your blog but seldom comment. Today, however, I wish for you peace. Just plain old peace-mind, body and soul.
      Getting old is hard, I’m telling ya! Nobody told me aging parents, young adult children, a career, death, cancer would be like this. Definitely, not how I expected it to all go down.
      Alas, I’m trying to strike that delicate balance between holding on and letting go.

    • I’m just like you, only a very few people know what I really think and feel. I just marveled the other day that a niece of mine is having some health problems and there are spaghetti suppers and food trees and a constant stream of visitors. If I were in her position, I’d probably have 5 people who knew, 4 of which are immediate family. So like you, I have a great deal of admiration for people who are willing and able to share parts of their life that may not always be pleasant. I strive to be one of those people brave enough to put things out there and see what the world sends back.

    • I could not have said this better, and it perfectly reflects my own thoughts. Stephanie ‘you are made of total awesome’, and you are appreciated just the way you are.

    • Another like Jill here! Just wanted to add my thanks and appreciation and say how much I’ve enjoyed and looked forward to reading your blog over the years. I lost my mum nearly 4 years ago and was initially ok, then periodically floored by the grief, it does get easier to bear but it’s no picnic and I still miss mum every day. However I also became a granny 15 months ago and the joy of that was and is, everything every loving grandparent says it is and more – as you know!
      Much love and appreciation,
      Terri x

  2. Thank you for this blog, for all the great knitting advice, adventures and mishaps and most of all for sharing your life with all of us.
    And the photo of your grandson really is great, that mischievous smile made me smile, too!

  3. Happy fourteen! Thank you for all you do – I so look forward to your posts. I’m so sorry you’re having a tough time…sending big blog love your way!

  4. Congratulations! You’re right, nothing is the way we expected. Not even the f-ing wallpaper and certainly, not the children.Tonight is my 25th wedding anniversary. Tom and I should be on some exotic trip, but, alas, we are not. Life didn’t cooperate. But we had a great bottle of wine, and now I’m contemplating my own blog post. Read yours before I started and it made me smile. We just go on doing the best we can. And we’re doing that. Happy 14th Blog-versary!

  5. I always read and seldom comment. There are always so many comments that there is often nothing left unsaid. But today I will tell you how much I have enjoyed your writing, and sharing, and honesty, and your inspirational knitting (and now your grandson! He is just precious). Looking forward to the next 14.

    • Exactly what I had hoped to say.
      Also thrilled with my knitting community and our $14 donations to support a yarnharlot and her community.

  6. Thank you for sharing your life here – even the hard parts. Your blog was a big help when I was going through a really hard part. I am still thankful.

  7. Happy 14th Blogiversry. I’m sorry to hear there are more sad times for you and your family. Take things one step at a time like knitting – one stitch at a time. Icame fairly late to the blog – I read most of your books before I started reading the blog. I’ve been reading the blog from the beginning over the last few months and it has made me laugh and cry and given me a whole library of knitting patterns I want to knit and wool I’mgoing to have to remortgage the house to buy! Thank you for it all. I’ll be thinking of you and your family as you navigate this difficult time.

  8. Congratulations on 14 exceptional years! Thank you for the laughter, joy, education, and tears. For letting us feel like a part of your family.
    I hope the Universe leaves you and yours alone for a good long time. For now, just keep doing the next right thing.

  9. Please don’t be alarmed if I say I have been stalking you for years! Meaning your blog is my favorite, but I have never commented before. You have a way with words that I truly enjoy, and have even made my husband laugh (I sometimes make him listen to my favorite parts). I appreciate your honesty with the hard parts, and your willingness to share those feelings with us. I’m sorry you have to cope with another sorrow. I understand the hospital waiting unfortunately, as my husband had some health scares this past year, but knitting and connecting with others helps. So I thought I’d say “Hi”, and let you know that you have more friends than you realize. We’ve just been shy!

  10. I feel I know you and your family so well…l enjoy every word and story you share. Your struggles are our struggles, your triumphs our triumps. So never think you are alone…only a keystroke away. Keep hugging that sweet baby close…

  11. I check once, twice, sometimes several times a day to see if there is something new from you. First discovered your blog about three or four years ago, went right back to the beginning and read every single post. Your writing is inspiring, funny, gut-wrenching and a terrific example of how sharing makes things easier. With your honesty, you show us how it is to be human and makes our lives feel “normal”. Thank you for every single word.

    • I have to echo this comment – almost exactly what I would say – rarely comment, read the entire blog from the beginning, check almost daily for new entries, and – you touch all who come here and through them others as well – THANK YOU FOR EVERY SINGLE WORD.
      Bless you and yours

    • I am a similar reader. Thank you for the great reading – knitting, parenting, being Canadian and so on. I think very few of us are leading lives the way we expected them to be and the lives of those who are can change in a flash. Will now go make a donation.

  12. I too always read but rarely comment. I’m starting to face some of my “life gets in the way” stuff and I realized after reading your blog that it’s going to be OK. It will be difficult and will be different but it will be OK. Others in my family are going through these changes too but I will be the primary care giver. I know that I’m going to have to ask for help which is very different for me but it will be OK.

    • Kim, and Stephanie,

      Other people are happy and honored to be asked to help. Especially if you ask for specific help. It is definitely OK.

      And now I have to touch “the world” to leave this comment. The world will help you out

  13. I think those of us who blog, even though most of us will never reach your fame (Seriously! You ARE famous!), understand the community of Blog. Glad we can share your burdens and ease your loneliness. Thank-you for letting us. (((HUGS)))

  14. I’m going thru this right now too–not the family.bit, that happened long ago, but the “This is not the way I expected it to be.” You are so very lucky to have such loving family and friends, and we are so very lucky to have you. Hugs to you in that hotel room, and Happy blogaversary.

  15. This blog is like a great circle of loving arms meant to bear you up when you need the comfort, cheer you on when you are celebrating, and listen when you need a sympathetic ear. We are here for the good times and the bad, Stephanie. Your candor is comforting because so many of us experience similar travails. Sometimes putting one foot in front of the other is all the strength we have. You just keep on keepin’ on. We’ll keep on listening, loving, and caring.

  16. I don’t know which of your legion of loved ones is suffering and I hope and pray that they will be healed.

    I can only tell you that your blog and rereading the history of your blog has gotten me through two bouts of chemotherapy and a total collapse of my lungs and immune system due to chemo. I can’t tell you what you have meant to me over the years but on the dark and endless days when I didn’t have the strength to move or the energy to even keep my spirits up, you made me chuckle or sometimes even laugh out loud, The eau de chèvre episode remains one of my perpetual favorites,

    I eventually recovered and you helped me do that. On your darkest days, please don’t ever forget you help just by being there and by being you,

  17. Thank you for 14 wonderful years of knitting, laughter, and tears. And even longer for those of us who remember your postings to the Knitlist! Your strength and courage shine through even if you feel like dissolving into a puddle on the floor and it is those times that show us who we truly are or want to become. You are wonderful!

  18. Ah Steph, I so appreciate you and your blog. You are so wise and so human, so honest. I feel for you as you navigate these losses and hard times in your life. And I rejoice with you as you celebrate births and other happinesses. Thank you so very much for sharing your life, the good times and bad, with us. And, always, the knitting. I am grateful to be among the Blog and I thank you deeply. Happy 14th Blogiversity.

  19. We’re all here for you, as you have been for us with your stories, pictures, grandson, and even a little knitting when we have our moments, days, weeks, or months. Happy 14th and here’s to another 14 to come! Please raise your glass of scotch… with ginger beer & cherry, in my case…and toast to our Yarnharlot!

  20. Lemme tell you a thing:

    Whether you mean to be or not, you’ve been a source of inspiration for us. Knitting or otherwise, you inspire here.

    Also, you’re a human being. You’re allowed disappointments and grief and general “ugh.”

    As Mr. Churchill said: When you’re going through hell, keep going.

    Donation on the way, btw.

  21. I’m so sorry you are managing another hard thing. I think those of us who are old (me, not you) have often found that “this isn’t how we thought it would be”. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not so much. You are strong and bright which means you will perhaps struggle to manage but you will succeed. Thank you for your blog and know that we love and support you.

  22. Sending hugs your way. I’m sorry you’re going through a tough time. You’re in my thoughts. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly — I’ve learned a lot more than just about knitting here. Wishing you and yours health and laughter.

  23. Seriously,Steph, WTF? My heart is with you and yours, and sending thoughts for the very best possible outcome. Personally, I like to think of chemo as hope. On the brighter side, happy blogiversary, and hope you know what a difference you make in the world. And in one of those curious-quirks-of-the-universe, I’m in the middle of a project kind of thing that actually results in donating $14, yes exactly $14, to a charity. So I think I’ll handle that early and pop over to PWA right now.

  24. Congratulations on 14 years. I’ve been reading since the beginning and I do appreciate your candor, humor and wicked knitting skills. Thank you for sharing your life and your family with us. What you’re going through is tough, no doubt, but by sharing your thoughts and feelings with us, you are helping so many more. Sending love and light your way.

  25. I forgot, once I got over to the ride page, to make it a multiple of 14, but I did donate so here’s hoping they’re freaked out about the total tomorrow morning…and here’s hoping you find some comfort in knitting and knitters, and you get a good night’s sleep tonight, and that you remember tomorrow that you have a LOT of people all over the world thinking about you and wishing you well.

  26. Hi. If you are feeling grief over a change or loss, allow it to run through it’s necessary stages. But in the end, remember that happiness is not a condition, it’s a decision. Also, my favorite proverb (Hindu) is the Salutation to the Dawn
    – Attributed to Kalidasa

    Look to this day!
    For it is life, the very life of life.
    In its brief course
    Lie all the verities and realities of your existence:
    The bliss of growth;
    The glory of action;
    The splendor of achievement;
    For yesterday is but a dream,
    And tomorrow is only a vision;
    But today, well lived, makes every yesterday
    a dream of happiness,
    And every tomorrow a vision of hope.

    • Thank you for that Graig. Going through “not what I expected” myself.

      Stephanie, I’m another warm hearted reader sending you virtual hugs and wishing you easement of pain.

      Thanks for the blog. My favorite story involved you being locked out of your hotel room sporting only a towel.

  27. Happy blogiversary, Stephanie! I’m thankful for you having started this blog 14 years ago, for without it I’m not sure I would have ever had the opportunity to have crossed paths with you the handful of times that I’ve had the honor of having done so. I’m sorry you have more sorrow in your life, thank you for sharing what you are able to of your life. It’s a joy to read your writing whether happy or sad. xoxoxo

  28. As one of the Blog who didn’t start with you 14 years ago but haas gone back and read from the beginning, thank you. You have been so open and honest about the challenges of life, motherhood, knitting (I did lace surgery a while back, inspired by you) and the rest. It is a gift to us know that We Are Not the Only One when something awful happens to us, and I am glad that we can be a support to you in your hard times too.

  29. Thank you for being you and for sharing your life with all of us. With ever so much appreciation and gratitude for all that you are. Hugs.

  30. I have been reading your blog for nearly all of your 15 years of writing. I could say many things about your blog but the thing that I always think of when I think of you is all the times that you have offered your support of the lgbtq community…this has been so meaningful to me because I have come out in these 14 years of reading. Thank you for being a friendly place during a time of much personal transition!

    I know that there are no easy words in grief and transition…I won’t pretend that I can ease the pain. But I do send love from my corner of the world and hope that it brings some light to your corner of the world.

  31. My dear friend – we’ve never actually had a cup of tea together or met face to face…..but through your blog and your books I feel like we are friends. I have read and reread your blog over the years, sent links to friends (your ‘Enough’ Christmas post saved my sanity one year, and I had to share it) and you have made me laugh and cry (often at the same time). I know that this has been a rough few months for you and your family, and I add my hugs to many being sent your way by the blog group.

    Thank you for 14 years of welcoming us into your home and life – happy Blogiversary!

  32. Thank you for sharing and entertaining and letting us know you for fourteen years. I have no clue what the current wrinkle is, but wish you all the best while you wait.

  33. Happy Anniversary. Been here all 14 years despite letting my own blog lapse a lot of years ago and commenting almost never anymore. Thanks for all the yarns you’ve spun (figuratively and literally). All the best,

    Renee the Sequel (formerly of froggiemeanie)

  34. Steph, your blog anniversary should be joyous, but you seem stressed. Take care of yourself. A scotch and a long, hot bath would be a good start. Another good idea would be hiring someone to deal with that @#$%^^%$#! wallpaper.

    Hope your (friend? relative?) in the hospital feels better soonest. With luck, s/he will have been sent home before you get there.

    P.S.: Elliot is definitely YOUR grandson — he’s got YARN!

  35. It is never what we thought it would be…but we do get through it and come out the other side.
    You have made me laugh, cry, and spend more money than I can afford for yarn so I can knit what you are knitting.
    You inspired me to learn to knit socks after nearly 48 years of knitting. That was seven years ago, and yes, I have some idea of how many pairs…..
    I am grateful for your writing, your family, my family, all of us in this chaos together.
    I promise to donate tomorrow when I’m awake.
    Know you are loved

  36. Really, there is no such thing as a “gratuitous” picture of your grandson. They are all more or less required and all of them are necessary and adorable. And I don’t even LIKE babies.

    I hope life improves for you soon and you get more of the expected and less of the unexpected for awhile.

  37. I’m sorry you are having such a hard time. Life can be that way sometimes. I wish you peace of mind and the endurance of the saints. Hang in there and happy blogiversary — even if it’s not what you expected.

  38. Thank you for the past 14 years. Like so many others, I look every day for a new post, and I often reread the older ones (along with the books). Here too, it is not what I expected, but one day at a time. Sending healing and strength to you and your loved ones. And thanks for Ken, for that original gift which started it all.

  39. It looks like you posted this about an hour-ish ago, and there are already at least 3×14 donations in multiples of $14. I think I love that.
    I know I love this blog.
    (((Hugs to you and yours)))

  40. I never (ok, rarely) comment, but oh, you have brought me so much joy. thank you. I pray your friend is comforted knowing you are on your way. xoxo

  41. Oh Stephanie, life can be so unfair. I’m really sorry that you and yours are going through so many painful times.

    But, that baby! His smile makes the world (or at least the blog) smile with him. He is springtime, he is nature’s promise that life continues.

    And the blog is a living, breathing thing.I am blown away by the love and the wisdom that people share here. Just remember that we are surrounding you with prayers/positive energy/love. Anytime you need us, we’re here for you.

    Happy blogiversary to all of us!
    (I was instructed to touch the world to post this comment. Pretty appropriate! )

  42. 14 years ago I didn’t even knit. But somewhere along the line I picked it up and you have somehow become a voice I always want to hear, cheering me on, even though I still knit like a six year old. And probably always will. But no matter, because the journey is the thing, not the outcome. Take heart. We’re with you.

  43. Coming to the end of a long day that saw my own little grandson go to hospital in an ambulance. (He’ll be okay – “just” pneumonia – but not how I expected it to be.)

    Was feeling sorry for myself and thought I would come back here and read about the Bonfire cowl again to cheer up, and there was this post. Congrats on the 14th. Wishing you at least as many more. And hoping you have somewhere to go where you find the sort of comfort, acceptance, and honesty that you share here. So grateful to be part of your Blog.

    Sending warm and healing thoughts to you and yours.

  44. ((((((((((Stephanie) ))))))))) (((((((((Yarn Harlot) )))))))
    This won’t last forever, thanks for your wonderful blog and all of Elliot s pictures.
    Tomorrow is another day.
    More hugs!

  45. Thank you for all you given us, your faithful blog readers, for these past 14 years. I love your writing. Much peace and many blessing as you endure another hardship. Enjoy your beautiful grandson and count all of your blessings (as I know you do).

  46. Thank you for remaining so real in a world where the word “fake” has become so awfully overused, and where it would be so easy sometimes to throw up a façade of perfection. It makes it easier for the rest of us with real lives and real challenges, knowing we’re not alone.

    • THIS.

      While everything everyone else is saying is right and true, this resonates so deeply with me. Thank you Deb for hitting the nail on the head, and thank you Steph and family for your incredible generosity of heart in putting our there your little sayings and rituals and habits and foibles and all the stuff that makes you all real. It means we can be, too (okay my opinion, if others don’t need the occasional reassurance, good on them).

  47. We, the Blog, loves Stephanie. (I feel like I am part of the Borg.) I am a more well rounded person thanks to the Blog. Now about scotch…single malt or blended? The best I have had is a 21 year Balvinnie. I “HIGHLAND” recommend it. (Very bad pun…)

  48. Happy 14th! donation made – love it when they are blown away by knitters! and for a great organization

    “not the way it’s supposed to be” – i hope that starts turning around. and all good thoughts for the person in the hospital.

    and grandson picture – adorable! how can he be that big already?

  49. I am like Jill in the first couple of replies, I rarely comment, but I read and have read every note since you started. And appreciate each one. Life is not easy, but the easy parts are so much easier to write about. Your candid notes, depth of feeling, highs, lows and everything in between are so profound that they help me cope with all of my feelings, highs, lows and everything in between. The circle of life goes on, Elliot is proof of that, and it will get easier. But don’t put pressure on yourself to be there yet. Take one day at a time. There will still be surprises in store (good and not so good). Strength that is summoned when you think there is little left. But I for one feel you can do it. The love you have and receive from your family and closest friends and your “blog” family are with you always. I am glad to be part of the “blog” out there. You are an inspiration to so many and I am grateful for your fourteen years. May you have many more. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

    • I am like Jill too, and Margaret. They (and others) have said it all so well. You must know how important you are to us. Thank you so much for sharing so much. I found you first because of knitting but I have gotten so much more from reading your blog and books. Hang in there, and knit! Knitting has gotten me through some of the worst and best days of my life. It’s a gift.

  50. I hope the cashmere chemo cap brings comfort. I’m certain your presence will bring comfort to the person you are making visits to from your hotel room. I went through ‘I want my old life back’ but, of course, that never happened. Things are always in flux and loss throws a shadow on our expectations. Always love when you write. Be well. x

    • Re: wanting my old life back, I remember distinctly the moment I realized that was not going to happen. My husband’s health has been in steep decline for six years now; he’s only in his early forties, but he’s had two strokes and now must live in a nursing home. I am raising our two boys, still sub-teenage. When I began to recover from stroke 2 and all the changes that came to our family, I once thought that now I might be able to go back to my old life…and realized that it was plain no longer available to go back to. I was starting again and had to find the new life. It was devastating then, and still takes up more of my energy than I wish it did.

  51. Stephanie, I have been reading for not 14, but more than 10 years. I almost never comment, though you once commented on my long-forgotten blog and made my day. I have learned so much from you about knitting and life, and your writing is delightful. I also lost a parent last year and it has been a major adjustment that I’m still working through. I have many, many moments of “this isn’t how it was supposed to be”. I am sorry that your family is still facing further loss when you are still coming to terms with the loss of you mother. I wish I had more comforting things to say, but know that you are not alone. You have build a wonderful community through your blog and I am only one of many people who are grateful for it. Love to you and your family.

  52. That big thing you wanted to do for your blogiversary? I think most good relationships are made to take the periodic non-event marking of milestones. You don’t go out to dinner and do flowers, but you remember to say, “I love you.”, “Thank you.” and all the things that grease the wheels of life. That wasn’t how I expected it to be, but it’s good. Sending you good thoughts for you and yours.

  53. Congratulations on fourteen years! I have to say that the weather here in Ottawa hasn’t been very welcoming, but I hope that the people are more so. My heart goes out to you as you experience these difficult times. Much love to you and yours.

  54. You know, the past several years have been hit-after-hit for myself and several dear friends. Right in a row- the challenges and changes and losses coming in what felt like ever more rapid succession. And I wasn’t sure it was going to transition to something less…hard. But I am here to say all those stories about life ebbing and flowing are true. Thank you for being so familiar all these years. I wish for light and blessings to your comings and goings.

  55. I find the moment I have expectations of my life, the universe just laughs and laughs. I have goals, and I’ve managed to meet a decent number of those, but life seems to never be what I expected at all. That’s the beauty and the tragedy of it in a nutshell. Watching while someone leaves is never expected – I hope all goes as well as it could, and hope you get through as well as you can.

  56. I spent last weekend at Vogue Knitting NYC. Your name came up over and over again, always in happy ways. You are indeed the universal friend, even to so many of us who have never met you.
    Sending you strength and comfort for the sorrow you are confronting and gratitude for your kindness, humor and good sense that you share with us here.

  57. I feel sorry that someone you love is going through tough times, but happy that they have someone who cares with them as they do.
    Know that many here take strength from your example and learn from what you are willing to share with us. Most of us lurk kinda quietly in the background but we are here and we do care.

  58. Congrats on 14 years! I don’t know how many years I have been reading, but I do know that I have laughed, cried, lived, and loved through your stories. When a post from you pops up in my feed, I don’t read it right away. I tuck it away to be enjoyed and savored like a piece of glorious chocolate. Thank you!

  59. I always read, but don’t usually comment, but today it seems that extra love and virtual hugs are needed.

    Thank you for opening the window and letting us peek into your world.

  60. You’re right Stephanie. You show up each day because that’s what you do because you learned that from your mom. The crying will ease and the joy will return. You will learn to accept that you won’t know in this life why your mom died so young. See, I figure you and I are close in age (we’re both over 40 so it’s close enough), but I’ve had almost 41 years with out my mom. So miss her, talk to her if you want, love your family hard. When you want motherly advice find a mom and ask her advice. Trust me I’ve done it many times. It’s not the same but it’s pretty close. And don’t forget her. She’s still with you.

  61. Steph, I check your blog every day. I check it when I get up in the morning with the intention of reading the blog while I have my coffee. If you have not posted yet I check the blog at least once often twice more before I do the wind-down thing at night. I am entertained, delighted, sadden and thoughtful after reading the blog but most of all I am happy to read about you and your busy life; what you are doing, your trips to knitting meccas and of course what is on your needles or just off! I get ideas from you and I hope, with my tiny bit of input, you get ideas from me.
    Often a virtual hug with a Hurrah! Girl is included! … Tonight you get prayers and a hug, that you come back from this OK because sometimes showing up is all that anyone can do for the people who hold a place in our hearts.

    Peace and Hugs,

  62. Thanks, Stephanie.
    Thanks for allowing us into your life. Thanks for being real, for being you, and for setting an example of how to be in the world.
    Thanks for the laughs and the encouragement.
    Thanks for the inspiration to knit better and push past the hard spots.
    Thanks for making us all feel a part – for creating this family called Blog.
    Sending prayers your way as you navigate yet another difficult time in your life. Prayers for your loved one, too.
    Blessings and hugs to you on your blogiversary!

  63. All day the project lay there on the floor, and I kept finding other things to do because I didn’t want to face the issue of having knit a whole row the wrong way (actually several rows the wrong way) and the only way out seemed to be to rip everything back to the beginning. Well, I know if that what’s had to be done, you would do it, but I didn’t actually believe you would give up that easy, so I really studied the pattern of the stitches (the linen stitch), read your blog, unknit one row, started back, and happily now, it’s coming together just like it should.

  64. This first year, as you’re finding, is the hardest. All the holidays and birthdays and important events without your mum. I believe that grief is a companion who walks with us, whose presence is something to which we become accustomed. Your mum’s place in your life will always be empty, and no one else can fill it. But the burden of it will become easier to bear. I send you many blessings for courage and strength, to love harder and care more as you continue to be inspired by all your mum was and gave in this world.

  65. Peace and love to you and yours. The ‘magic of showing up’ is a strong one and something you are very good at. It makes more difference than you know.

  66. “Holding space for another person is incredibly profound.
    When you hold space for someone, you bring your entire presence to them.
    You walk along with them without judgment, sharing their journey to an unknown destination. Yet you’re completely willing to end up wherever they need to go. You give your heart, let go of control, and offer unconditional support.
    And when you do, both of you heal, grow, and transform.” by Lynn Hauka

    What you are doing for your friend/relative in Ottawa is holding space. It is a gift of love.
    I am another who rarely comments but who so enjoys being part of your Blog community. Thank you for 14 years.

  67. I’m sorry you are all having such a hard time but I think the love and care you show your loved ones spills over into the way you treat the Blog and the community you have created.
    I donated and I thank you for this space and your example of how to knit and how to live

  68. I rarely comment as it always seems someone else has said it better. But your blog means so much to me and I appreciate you sharing your life with me (and everyone else). Keep blogging and I will keep being thankful.

  69. I also want to say that I am sorry that your family is being edited again, there is only so much a person should be expected to handle. Good thoughts being sent your way.

  70. Parts of life just suck sometimes. 🙁

    One step at a time…. a good mantra for new moms, and to those of us dealing with loss and hardships.

    Hugs to you and yours.

    And thank you for being you. 14 years – that is an amazing feat!

  71. Love you. Love how you always bring out the best in yourself no matter what life throws at you, how immediately generous in spirit and action you are for others, and I love how you have always expected the best from all of us and made us better people for it.

    Love to your family as I Think Good Thoughts and hold you all in a prayer that love may see you through whatever you have to go through, that it might somehow be easier. Maybe buffered is the better word. You have a good family.

  72. I hate to contradict you Steph, but I have a feeling the bike rally know what’s happening these days.
    Hugs always and best wishes, hope all works out ok (or as ok as possible)

  73. Dear Stephanie, I’m profoundly grateful for your wisdom and inspiration over so many years. I first found you amid a short row of knitting books at our tiny local library (The Secret Life of a Knitter) almost 10 years ago. I was just learning to knit to distract me from a tough life transition. Whenever I need comfort, I always turn to knitting, your blog and a cup of tea. Thinking of you tonight as you are present for your loved one. (And thanks for another photo of your beautiful grandson. It looks like he’s getting plenty of fiber in his diet!) Sending love.

  74. In 1996 my youngest son broke his neck. He was a high school athlete, not quite 17. Permanently quadriplegic. Tell ya what, punkin, that was not how I thought it would be. I was stunned and kinda wide-eyed and frantically wondered, “What the hell will we DO now?” Eventually I calmed down and got to work and reminded myself: You are the not the first people this happened to. Shut up and get on with your day. 😉

    Cancer is certainly not the same thing, but my daughter did that one — mastectomy, chemo, radiation, more. You are just SPOT ON WITH your perspective and responses here, and yes, a scotch and a bath is a very very good idea.

    Love you.

  75. Steph, you have so earned that Scotch! I never thought it would be like this, either, but here we are. Like many of your readers, we are the folks that do. Not sure how the universe picked us, but we have this thing we do, when stuff needs doing. The older we get, the more stuff there is to do, too! Blessings to you, for being the one who is there, for enduring the challenges and embracing the joy.

  76. Thank you for 14 years of the blog. I found the blog after I read all of your books which were so warm and inspiriational. I felt like I was with an old friend catching up on our lives. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
    Life is just crappy sometimes. Your blog brightens my day. One of my favorite posts was of a wedding where your crew surprised Katie and Carlos with a flash mob at their wedding reception!
    Sending big hugs to you. Go have that scotch and whatever else you need.

  77. Steph, I find hold on tight and do a bit of knitting gets me through an awful lot. But once, when I was in the very worst place and couldn’t sleep or eat, I held on tight and read your blog from the beginning through the night. About a decade’s worth. You give a lot more than you get x many happy returns x

  78. My favourite quote when things are tough is from Winston Churchill:
    “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
    Sometimes you just have to hang in there and that’s enough, nothing fancy, just well done you for enduring.
    Happy 14th! I am so glad your blog is there. You make our lives better. Hope we can do the same.

  79. All of the above, from another respectful and adoring lurker whose life you have changed and improved, both in terms of knitting and in dealing with all the crap of life.
    May you and your Tribe be held in the light and surrounded by love.

  80. Love your blog, love your books and, even though we have never met, I have a huge amount of girlie crush on you. You are an inspiration xxx

  81. This has probably already been said but “Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises.”
    Elizabeth Zimmermann. Sending love and mojo for peace.

    • Rose Fu just said it perfectly. I would add one more thing – be there when the hospitalized person (or their significant other/family) need you tp be there otherwise let go and let God (or the Universe) handle the next bit. And “Knit on” it does help.

  82. I love the blog, and The Blog – reading it, and being part of it; learning from you and from it; loving and laughing – sometimes crying – and sharing with a bunch of strangers who – inexplicably – feel like dear friends.
    (And it doesn’t hurt that you share a name with my beloved big sister.)
    Happy 14th, and happier times.

  83. Sorry to hear about the cancer. Hopefully the chemo goes favourably. It may not be the way you expected to celebrate your 14th blogiversary, but find joy in giving comfort and love to your loved on who is facing the battle with cancer.

  84. Hugs to you like a big wool blanket. Life is never like we expect, but there is joy even in sorrow, it’s just harder to find. Thank you for all the joy you give us and this phase of life has both mountainous highs like grand babies, and immeasurable lows, as time marches on.

  85. You have given us so much, and I’m glad we give you something, too. It strikes me as so ironic that you’ve helped so many little people into this world, and now you’re helping some leave it. I’m sorry you’re in a patch where the hits just keep on coming, and I hope it passes soon.
    Happy Blogiversary, hope the scotch and a good soak helped.

  86. Dear Stephanie- I’m another fairly new reader to your blog and don’t often comment but I wanted to let you know how much your grace and honesty and openness through the recent months has inspired me. I try to remember “This too shall pass” when hard times come and the older we get the more of those seem to land on us. I wish you strength and may your needles keep moving. Thank you for all your wonderful writing- I’m going to have to start reading back to find out about all the stories the other commenters have mentioned

  87. I am sorry Steph that you’re back in the hard place again. It’s not a straight upward climb back to the new normal, there are sudden drops along the way. I ended my husband’s eulogy with Ted Kennedy’s words:

    “We carry on, because we have to, because our loved one would want us to and because there is still light to guide us in the world from the love they gave us”

    The t shirt version would be “We carry on”.

  88. Stephanie,
    You cannot know the number of times you have written exactly what I needed at that moment – from gift suggestions, a next knit, a beautiful yarn idea. But most of all, the times when you’ve written about life, in all its messy, wild, tragic, and beautiful wonder. My daughter’s marriage is in a rough patch, probably skidding to the end, and I’m heartbroken for her. And then your words arrived with my morning coffee and, although they’ve left me pretty choked up, they are such a gift. Your blog is as wonderful to me and you say it is to you, even though I rarely comment.
    P.S. My friend @Britstitchery knows you, like, in person, and it makes me feel just a wee bit more connected to you. Not in a stalkery way, but in a “she really is a real person and this is real talk she shares” sort of way. Plus a teeny bit of jealousy. One of your retreats is on the bucket list. $14 is on your way because you have definitely provided more than that in worth across the years I’ve been reading your blog.

  89. Thank you, Stephanie, for 14 years of laughter, tears, thoughtfulness, and inspiration. Thank you for sharing your triumphs and your heartbreaks. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of others and making a difference in mine.

  90. Like others I seldom comment, and I too am sorry to hear you are spending time in hospital. Know that we are sending prayers for you and your loved ones. Your blog (and knitting) has gotten me through some pretty rough patches so “thank you”. $14 is a small price to pay. PS – there can never be too many pictures of Elliot Tupper

  91. Congratulations Stephanie! Thank you for this completely amazing place- all the humor and adventures and especially for giving us such an honest look at your life. I love reading your blog and seeing how people experience hard things, and wonderful things, in the posts and the comments, and even if the details are different I feel like I can so relate to the ups and downs of life. It’s completely wonderful. Not to mention the idea that’s it’s totally normal to love knitting so madly! Cheers!

  92. Whenever I have to nominate a ‘someone is most like to meet’, ‘someone is invite to the intimate dinner party’, ‘someone who inspires me the mos etc., it’s you. Always.
    Thank you for your service, your 14 years, for sharing your life.

  93. I’m so sorry that the universe is taking another shot at your family, darling Stephanie … but I also can’t help looking at that gorgeous baby and going “WOOK AT THE WITTLE FACE ON HIYIM!!!!” because he is freakin’ adorable.

  94. It pains me to read of your troubles, but as one who’s lost both parents, gotta say, thank god for kids. They are what keep me going and skirting around that small pinhole that can turn in to a whirling vortex of sadness and alone-ness (new word?). Chin up!

  95. Happy blogiversary, Stephanie, even if the real world is not kind to you right this minute.

    Each blog post is a gift that I appreciate so much, even one like this that brings tears to my eyes. Your words are always wonderful, but I have to say that your picture of your hotel room really captures that feeling you are describing in your words better than words ever could. Your photography has caught up to your writing, and it is beautiful.

    And no photo of that wonderful little grandson could ever be gratuitous. He is the essence of what life is really all about.

    Sending love to you in this difficult time.

  96. Congratulations on the anniversary!
    I join the other commuters in thanking you for your amazing blog. You have had a definite positive effect on the people of “the blog” as well as their circles.
    Thanks for making us think more about our world and humans’ effects on it. (and thank your daughter for sharing those cheering baby photos with the internet)
    Keep up the good work!
    Very happy to go make an extra donation.
    Here’s to the next year!

  97. Congrats on 14 years of writing. Your blog casts a light along the way over the rocky and smooth parts of our shared humanity. I am grateful for you companionship in navigating this loving, funny, painful, human existence we call life.

  98. Steph:
    The magic of showing up. That’s the line that jumped out at me this morning, as I read this. That’s what it’s all about. The magic of showing up.

    This is not what I expected should be a life motto for all of us – I think I’ll make it the core of my discussion with my counsellor at my next appointment. But the magic of continuing to show up, despite that? That’s what makes us human, and that’s what you remind us of. This mad, beautiful, painful, joyous mess that is being human. The best of us and the worst of us.

    Thank you. I’ll keep showing up. And I know you will, too, as you always do, no matter how tough it gets. Much love to you and your loved people.

  99. Oh God, Steph. Feeling you. Your year looks a lot like my last year. Advice is a tricky thing and I generally avoid it, but I really feel the need to pass on a couple things a wise friend said that really helped me. 1. You can not make this okay, and you don’t have to be okay with that. All you have to do is keep taking the next breath. 2. Grief doesn’t look like work, but it is. Grief is a lot of work. Be kind to yourself, physically and emotionally. I think you know these things, but sometimes it helps to have them affirmed. We love you, Steph. We bear witness.

  100. Life is hard and it beats the alternative and we’re in this together. Thank you and keep on keepin’ on….Congratulations on 14 years! ❤️

  101. As Elizabeth Zimmermann would say, “Courage!” We do love you, how could we possibly not, and your blog has been many things to so many of us, including an engine for social change. Do you have any idea what you’ve done for AIDS research? For Doctors Without Borders? If more of us could do a fraction of what you’ve done, the world would be a better place.

    Good luck on your current mission. Showing up is indeed magical. Take good care.

  102. In a universe that sometimes seems ruthless and uncaring, at least you know that through your blog there are folks out there who together make up a significant number of sympathetic people willing to offer support (some literally, most of us figuratively) during the good times, and especially during the hard times, by sending good thoughts to you and your loved ones. As I do now. xo

  103. Did my part to freak the daylights right out of PWA. 🙂

    My sister (a preacher) talks about learning how to surrender in those moments when life isn’t what we think it should be. It’s an incredibly hard thing to do.

  104. I so agree with you! Life (all aspects of it) and adulthood, is not really what I expected, even though I’m not sure what I expected. I think that I expected it to be more fun, warmer and sunnier. I expected to be more joyous, even though I realize that comes from within. My faith and relationship keeps me going, and hoping. Thank you for contributing to the hope and the joy. I am praying for that loved one and your family.

  105. Well, reasons to be cheerful part 14…..your blog is a constant in my life and I find I turn to it in times of joy and sorrow. I came late to the party which was kind of wonderful as I could read 7 years straight off the bat. I think your superpower is inclusivity and very quickly I moved from “binge” reading as spectator to feeling like I’m opening a letter from a dear friend every time you write.
    I am so sorry for your rough ride of late, there really aren’t words, if you were here I could give you hugs and tea…except of course that British reserve I am prone to would get in the way, so what to say?
    Thanks so much for the memories and letting me into your wonderful, loving life. I hope there will be many more blogaversaries. xx

  106. Your blog posts make me laugh, they make me cry, but they always make me FEEL – thank you for sharing your life with us. My thoughts are with you for whatever it is you’re going through.

  107. Happy Blogversary!!! I haven’t been with you for the full fourteen (this is my fourth winter knitting) but I will be with you from here on out. Thank you for your beautifully crafted posts (try not to snort while drinking coffee-face it, you are a natural wordsmith), for sharing your thoughts, for caring About It All and inspiring others to Do The Same. (I admit I have a healthy fear of Lycra and those around me are quite thankful for it but I’m finding other ways to Do Something That Matters).
    Thank you Ken, for gifting Stephanie with The Blog bits so she could be our BFF too.
    Thank you, Stephanie, for being there for us at the right time, on the right day, with the right words without even knowing it.
    The Blog may have seemed a wee thing at it’s beginning but it has become A Great Thing to a great many of us.
    This is not the way I expected it to be for you either…in all the many ways it has been…and will be. You didn’t expect to have so many hearts holding you and yours through it all. It doesn’t make up for what brought you here, but we’re all loving you as much as we can to get as close to that mark as possible.
    Keep moving forward. We’ve got your back. And we’re clearing the path ahead of you too.
    Because we’re Knitters. It’s what we do.
    And thank you for all that you do.

  108. Congratulations on you Blogiversary!
    I’m so sorry for your troubles.
    Thank you for sharing with us for 14 years. I appreciate your every post.

  109. Thank you for the past 14 years.
    In the spirit of things not turning out the way you plan, I’m contemplating ripping out a fair isle hat that it spit spliced. Because it may be too small. If you have taught me anything, it’s to go with my knitting gut. Hang in there, we’re with you.

  110. We love you. And we are legion.

    Here’s my request to The Blog: If you’ve commented less than 5 times over the past 14 years, would you please leave a note to Stephanie today? I’d love to see the comment count set a record.

    • I might have commented five times in those years, but probably just. I started reading around the time I started knitting and learned a great deal about what else was possible with yarn and needles, but of course I keep reading because it’s a joy to feel a sense of connection to you and your family, Stephanie. I’m sorry there have been so many difficult times recently, but I hope you won’t see sharing with the blog as one of the difficulties. We are here even when you can’t do the beautiful pictures, funny stories, or happy endings.

  111. Worth it? Absolutely! I’ve learned so much since I started reading your blog. That everything isn’t perfect is what makes it so meaningful to me. Donation made. Wishing you the best (and the person in your life who is not well, peace and love).

  112. Terry Pratchett’s definition of witchcraft was pretty much “show up, do what needs doing” so between yarn and holding together, and holding space, I think you are a pretty perfect example of witchery.

    I mean, as well as being a pretty good example of ways I want to live my life.

    Thank you for sharing with us.

    • This was what I wanted to say, too. Stephanie, I’m so sorry life is giving you and yours a good kicking. Sometimes all you can do is get through the bit in front of you, an hour at a time. You have been a role model for me for many years in how you choose to live your life. Thank you and I wish you strength and hope.

  113. Dear Steph,

    I’m so sorry to hear that you and your family are going through another difficult time, while still dealing with the loss of your mother. I have been reading your blog from the beginning, and have many times been grateful for your humor and thoughtful approach to life. My dad died last year, too, and your willingness to share your grieving process has helped me as I struggled to deal with my own loss. Please keep writing, and thank-you for the last fourteen years.

  114. Many virtual hugs! You sum it up perfectly, nothing is as I expected it either… I added to the head scratching and sent a donation, shall send more as I’m able, darn life getting in the way of my charitable intents!

  115. I’m sorry things are scary and painful. Thank you for sharing your hilarious, sad, poignant, and true stories with the world. I’ve only been reading for a few months but have already combed through both your archives and two of your books. (The tale about your friend with RA made me weep uncontrollably, as I also have that terrible disease.)

    Sending you warmth and wool wishes 🙂

  116. Tevye’s song in Fiddler on the Roof Sunrise sunset quickly fly the years, one season following the other laden with happiness and tears.
    Think of us your blog family like a big blanket you have knitted these 14 years. You have knitted love tears great stories, bravery, tenacity, resilience and so much more into these posts. May this blanket cover you too, give you love hugs comfort at this moment, knitted together in the blanket of life.

  117. Happy Blogiversary!! I have not been around for all fourteen years but I love your blog, though seldom comment The faith and respect you have for all of us to open your life and your heart to us always impresses my. Always know, we – the blog – are here for you and send you a great big virtual hug full of love.

  118. I’m here. And though it may sound odd and kind of creeper-ish, you’re often in my thoughts as a sister-in-knitting. Wishing you peace and joy, and comfort for your family member who’s in hospital.

  119. Congratulations and thank you for fourteen wonderful years! My life has certainly been enriched because you’ve shared a bit of yours. Thank you for letting us all be a part of your story.

  120. I think I only discovered you in 2009, when I read one of your books and was impelled to knit my first sock. It was kind of a disaster, but I’ve gotten to be a much better knitter. I’ve knit with wool, silk, mohair, yak (and will knit with bison after I can untangle the &%@blinking skein I got at Rhinebeck this year). I’ve laughed and cried with you, delighted over your family additions, anticipated the knitting, and grieved Tup and your mom. We’re here with you, and I appreciated being part of the Collective Blog.

  121. Giant virtual hugs to you. Please know that you matter to all of us and that we feel privileged that you share your thoughts with us. Many of us, myself included, are in the same place right now – understanding that life is not what we expected, trying to hold on to the “magic of showing up” and using the pause of the moment to simply “be”… and knit, of course….

  122. 1) Stephanie, don’t worry. We understand.

    2) Big hugs to you.

    3) Thank you for your blog and for the last 14 years of sharing your life and your knitting. It’s been wonderful.

  123. I think I say some version of the same thing every blogiversary, but I really mean it: thanks for sharing your life with us, both the highs, the lows & the goofiness. I’ve been reading your blog since soon after you started it & I still look forward to your posts. Here’s to another 14 years!

  124. I’m just want to say Thank You!! It’s a lot you do for us, with the knitting, and the honesty about knitting challenges. But, perhaps, more importantly the honesty about the life challenges. It isn’t what we thought it would be. We thought when we made it through the hard thing that there would be a respite, like maybe we’d had enough hard things, but sometimes the next hard thing comes again too soon. Know that we are sending kind, knitterly thoughts, and holding you in our hearts like the good friend you are, even though you wouldn’t recognize the Blog on the street- until we excitedly accosted you, of course. 🙂

  125. In every sweater, there’s some ripping back (or there would have been, if we hadn’t put it in the WIP closet six years ago). Ditto life, damn it. I have really, really appreciated your blogging and your character (stop laughing; I mean that in a good way) for these fourteen years, or whenever I discovered you – pretty close to fourteen years, I think. We’re here for you, you’re there for us, and we’ll all just muddle through. That’s all life, and knitting, is.

  126. I’m sorry for the hard things you, your family, and many of your readers are going through. I’m deeply thankful for your writing, it has made me a better, more adventurous knitter, and a better, more adventurous human. Thank you for keeping on, the Blog is holding you close.

  127. We all learn from your writings…about life, family, knitting, and so much more. You help us meet those challenges and give us the tools to soldier on. And to celebrate. This post was most inspiring. Thank you!

  128. Your writing, photos, generosity, humor, courage, and humanity have enriched my life for 14 years, and I am eternally grateful. May you feel the love and support of this community when you need it most. xo

  129. Oh MY Dear Stephanie, Please stop being so hard on yourself. You lost your MUM. Not a distant relative. It is going to take some time. Let yourself Take that time to heal . Blessings to you and your family. And hope all goes well for whoever is in the hospital now. Hang in there, only time heals all wounds.

  130. Hugs to you Stephanie. Hope things go well with your sick family member. Drink lots of coffee and keep on knitting.

    Happy follower of the blog for most of those 14 years and I’ve read all of the posts at least 3 times. You’ve made me laugh and feel like I know you and your family and your friends much more than I would have expected from someone I’ve never met. Happy 14th.

  131. Donation made! Congratulations on your 14 years and thank you so much for each and every one of your postings. Wishing you all the best.

  132. Congratulations on your Blogiversary! Fourteen years is amazing, and here’s to fourteen more years! I’ll be making a donation later today, to do my part. Thanks so much for all you do. Thinking of you and your family…

  133. Reality bites. Best wishes for a good outcome for the patient, and gentle hugs to the rest of the family during this time.

    Happy Blogiversary.

  134. “Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans.” John Lennon

    Showing up is huge and often undervalued, especially by those who do it.

    Thanks for remembering our blogiversary in the midst of your hard time.

  135. Reading your blog posts, I’ve laughed out loud, I’ve cried, I admired your beautiful words and knit work. You’ve inspired me – although after starting on fox paws, I’ve decided while I could knit it, I absolutely did not want to knit it. I look forward to every blog post. I wish you many more years of blogging. You are loved!

  136. Hi Stephanie,
    This time wouldn’t have worked out, because of a nasty bronchial virus that our office family has graciously been sharing with each other, but next time you’re coming to Ottawa, you don’t need to stay in a hotel if you don’t want to. Assuming you can retrieve email addresses from here, please get in touch next time you’re planning on visiting. I have a guest room, Netflix, and a cat who thinks knitting is a group activity.

  137. If you’ve been doing this for 14 years, that means I’ve been following this blog for nearly half of my life. I’m right in the same age bracket as your girls and while I obviously don’t personally know any of you, it’s been kind of great to . . . grow up with them? Thank you.

  138. Happy Blogiversary to you and us all – I say “us all” since we all share each and every post along the way. This life of ours is never what we expect (or we would be fortune tellers) but the journey along the way shapes us. Some days we feel more like “gumby” than anything, do we not? From one gumby to another…….hugs.

  139. I saw a wonderful idea about how to acknowledge those things in our life that pop up and change our lives forever. As a huge reader, it pleases me that it is bookish. You just yell, “Plot Twist!” You don’t need to figure out what to do at that moment or what will happen next. Just take a moment to recognize there has been change. It might be a positive thing, more often it is negative and I have found yelling it is an important part of it.
    Worth a try.

  140. You are not alone. You are never alone. You have a huge readership all around the world, and we love you. I pretty much guarantee that at any time of the day or night there is someone reading your blog and sending you positive thoughts. I’m sending positive thoughts for your sick family member too. Thank you for your lovely blog – it’s brought me a great deal of joy over the years, and my best friend and I discuss you like you’re a close friend.

  141. Sending prayers and (virtual) hugs for you and yours in this difficult time. And perhaps a few tears; you’ve handled so much with more dignity and grace than I’ve managed of late.
    Wishing you happy blogiversary seems a bit – wrong – under the current circumstances, but I’ll second Presbytera’s request to the Blog. I’ll simply say thank you and God bless.

  142. Thank you for your blog. It is definitely a part of my life. I’m sorry your life is off kilter right now but, as I’m sure you know, this too, shall pass and the sun will come out again in time. You can’t possibley be too lonely in that room because the thoughts of so many of your readers are in there with you. In fact, it should actually be pretty crowded.

  143. I’m sending all my love to you. My life is also not what I expected it to be and I’m struggling to carry on. I wish you strength and peace. Thank you for sharing. We are all here for you. xx

  144. In Dr. Seuss’ book ‘Oh the places you’ll go,’ he describes the waiting place as somewhere you don’t want to end up forever. The problem is, sometimes all we can do is wait, and endure. Sometimes, it’s the most courageous action we can take, to show up, to wait, to not leave before the waiting is over. To stay, even though we know that the thing we are waiting for is going to hurt.

    Just know that as you are waiting, we are here, waiting with you.

  145. So sorry, Stephanie.
    It’s these thoughts … and events … that sometimes make one realize that we are aging. (I don’t want to say ‘growing old’ because my body may be but not my mind). But it also did bring you Elliot.

  146. Adding one more Congratulations to the list. I never miss a post but rarely comment. Today I want you to know that this blog touches many, many of us. We all laugh, cry and knit right along with you. Here’s to many more….and that $14 donation. I love that knitters can freak out PAW!

  147. ‘This is not the way I expected it to be’ what a beautiful and perfect sentiment, I think it also captures perfectly my last year and a half (having my twins, and finding ourselves in world full of pediatricians, feeding tubes, development assessments and surgeries, 7 and counting). But just because it’s not what I expected, and at times so incredibly hard, doesn’t mean it’s not also been the most beautiful and love filled time, and I wouldn’t trade my little boys for anything in the world. Thanks so much for sharing your last 14 years with us, whether its what you expected or not, it’s been a source of inspiration, comfort and comradery for many of us. Happy Knitting Steph.

  148. I no longer remember when I started READING your blog — not at the beginning, but close enough to it that reading most of what had already been posted was a do-able project, and after a few contemporary posts I did just that so that I’d have read it all. So much of my life isn’t what I expected (and so much more than I expected involved sitting in hospital rooms or hotel rooms near hospitals. . . if only I’d started knitting earlier!) and I know what you’re feeling now. May it go — gently. May the pains be as little as possible, and the grief as bearable as possible. And if nothing else, know that there are people all over the world who hold you and your family in their hearts because of the words you put out there.

  149. There is a magic in showing up. And there is magic in the love stitched into that cashmere cap, and the recipient will know it. Thank you for the last 14 years. You’ve given us a lot of laughter, surprises and wisdom; I hope we can send some back to you and yours.

  150. Ditto to everything above. And I contributed. And I get (a little bit) where you are. Two totaled cars (no injuries, but still) and a terrible cancer diagnosis and surgery in one month. No fun adjusting to the new reality. Not that this is truly comparable. Thoughts and prayers.

  151. yep, its all true what you say! sometimes life is a “sh*t-sandwich” and no of us can expect otherwise, but then it’s still pretty great some of the time. I just keep reminding myself of the old adage to put one foot in front of the other (seriously, my running shoes saved my sanity this Christmas season). Putting one stitch in front of the other doesn’t hurt either!

  152. Thank you for the gratuitous grandson picture. It is definitely worth my donation to PWA. (I admit I go back to old posts to gaze at babies and knitting.)

  153. You are wonderful! When I read about your family I read about the family I wish to have, so loving and connected and happy. I bless the day I found your blog twelve years ago while trying to figure out what the heck a thumb gusset was. I hope it gets better for you, and that you get some peace.

  154. Hang on Stephanie, by every metre of yarn in your stash. You just entered my “not what I expected it to be” life. And God bless little Elliot, Lord know this world needs another wool chewer. Love him and every gratuitous (or not) photo of him.

  155. Plot twist! That’s the perfect description of what happens in life while you’re making plans. Oh boy the great designer of the universe does love to remind us who is in control and it isn’t us. Thank you for years of great stories, sharing your family and your life, and teaching us many things, some of them about knitting. And your books… and your photos which I love regardless of the subject but those baby photos — never stop!! Knit on, hang in there, feel the love. The Blog is here for you…

  156. I’m another one that has never commented before, but has been in your blog world for over 5 years. Life is hitting you hard right now, and the fact you are sharing everything with us, helps all of us when we are going through similar issues. Your strength (and humour) strengthens each of us, and I am so grateful for that. Thank you for being there, so strong, so honest, so open. And I wish you every strength for the current situation.

  157. Thank you for sharing 14 thoughtful, funny, maddening, gladdening, inspiring years. You make the world a better place <3

  158. Yours is the first blog I ever read and by far the best. Been going through worry and changes in my family for years and the Blog gives me a break from my worries. You make me laugh, inspire my creativity (and sometimes make me weepy) and I thank you for sharing your life with us. The grandson pics make my heart melt – he clearly adores you.

  159. I too have never commented. Happy 14th. Hope this quote is ok to add. Has helped a lot.

    From “The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope” by Rhonda Riles
    “Grief is a powerful river in flood. It cannot be argued or reasoned or wrestled down to an insignificant trickle. You must let it take you where it is going. When it pulls you under, all you can do is keep your eyes open for rocks and fallen trees, try not to panic, and stay faceup so you will know where the sky is. You will need that information later. Eventually, its waters calm and you will be on a shore far from where you began, raw and sore, but clean and as close to whole as you will ever be again.”

    • That is a really good quote for all of us, even though it can be hard even to keep one’s eyes open during the immersion of grief, we so humanly wish that shutting our eyes could make our old world return, even if for a few moments.

  160. Always look forward to your new posts, and they’ve got me through some rough times too. Nice to know there are thousands of us rooting for you in your journey of changes. I personally don’t like change, because it usually comes with a requisite amount of heartache but I’ve learned to roll a little better with the waves. Hang in, knowing there are legions of us who follow you and there’s a collective behind you, wishing you strength, peace and happiness, and I’m sure if you asked any one of us for help, we’d be there in any way possible. Donation made, and now you’ve made me want a scotch…..

  161. Happy Blogiversary Steph! Thank you for bringing so much joy, laughter, and inspiration into my life through your wonderful words. I am so sorry for what your friend and/or family member is going through right now. Keep on doing what you are doing – face it with a positive attitude (even though it doesn’t feel like it), be there for your loved ones, and pay attention to all the wonderful little things in life that make it all worth while. It makes all the difference. Sending a big hug your way!

  162. Thank you, Stephanie, for being a special bright spot in the big wide world–a person I don’t really know but do truly care about. I like to think we would really enjoy a meal together, and I’m grateful that you decided to blog to forge this magical connection. You bring so much warm humanity to my world.
    Bless you, and know that I am sending you encouragement through the ether. Today is my 50th birthday, and I so often relate to the sense of “this is not what I expected.”
    Hugs, Virginia

  163. Thank you Stephanie,
    You have always been a light – bright and funny and inspirational – for me. As always I follow EZ’s advice: knit on with hope and confidence and you will get through any crises.” (hope that is her exact quote but at any rate it’s gotten me through many crises I thought I couldn’t live through.)
    I’ve actually been privileged to have met you twice. Yah.
    Lots of Love.

  164. Cheers Stephanie, to all of it. Life is life, happily and sometimes unfortunately. If I can ever hope to give you a gift of a smile and a warm heart after all of them you have given me, I would be so lucky.

  165. Like some of your other commenters, I don’t exactly remember when I started reading your blog, but I know it was my sister who told me about you. I recall her telling me about one of your posts where your shoe, or was it a sandal, fell out of your hotel window. Have I got the story correct? Anyway, that got me hooked and I’m still reading and loving every post (and book) you write. Thank you for all your writing, for sharing your life with us, and for your wisdom.

  166. Dear Steph. I am so sorry that life is not what you want it to be right now. Know that you are loved and honored by a whole flock of us who delight in your joys, try to share your sorrows, and learn so much from your honesty. One of the lines I love best about this post is the comment that one of the blog is always awake–when my own family was going through some cruel edits, I took huge comfort in the knowledge that friends in Australia (I’m in the US) were awake and sending love even if I felt alone in the dark at 3am. Now that I’m mostly on the other side of the experience, I regularly give thanks for the far-flung communities to which I belong. The Blog is part of that.
    One of the prayers I say a lot begins “Keep watch with those who work or watch or weep this night…” You and yours are in my prayers. Meredyth

  167. Yes. None of us expected this. Thank you for helping so many of us live into the unexpected with hope and endurance. As Elizabeth Zimmermann said, “Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises.”

  168. I remember when I first heard about you and the blog – was it in Time or some other national/international magazine. And when you celebrated the Winter Olympics – our knitting group was right there with you. We ended with an Olympic cake (the bakery decorated it with the Olympic rings) and distributed gold medals – big gold colored washers hanging from red ribbon. Good time. And it’s Winter Olympics time! Take care. You are very important to us, too.

  169. Thank you Steph. Thank you for fourteen years. Thank you for sharing all of your ups and downs. I/we have them too and it makes me feel better about mine when I can read about yours especially in your wonderful way of entertainment while communicating. This is not what I expected, but I love it. Thank you.

  170. Thank you Stephanie. For fourteen years of sharing, for being my friend and knitting mentor. And for today showing me that even though I’m not where I was supposed to be, life does go on – as long as I show up. Most especially thank you for sharing Elliot!

  171. I had wondered when you showed us the pretty chemo cap, and took a moment to send best wishes and reiki energy to your sister or whomever else it may be. Times like this…there aren’t really any words for them. Please just know that you and all your family are in our thoughts, and that we are sending you support.

    And thank you for all you’ve given us. I can tell you from experience that your blog has given me much needed laughter and smiles at times when things were less than bright.

    Happy blogversary.

  172. You are so right, not much is as I expected it to be.
    I am so sorry you and you family have more hard things to face, but as always, you will do it with grace, courage and wit.
    Even though I have never met you I feel like you and the blog are a big part of my life.
    Thank you so much for fourteen years, and here’s to 14 more!

  173. Exactly that – the magic of showing up – and the miracle of staying the course. Do what needs to be done. This too shall pass…and this…and this too…

  174. I’m sorry you are having such a tough time. I’ve not commented before that I can remember, but your writing has made me a better person – more open to the unfamiliar, more able to be empathetic, more able to think creatively. Thank you.

  175. Happy 14! You have changed my relationship with knitting. Before you I didn’t understand the vastness of the knitting universe and you were my portal to understanding so much! Before you I knit and loved being in yarn stores. After you I started knitting things I never imagined (like socks for one thing!), started understanding yarn, designers – and most importantly knitters (I now go to knit night!). So… thanks. I adore you.

    As to the life part – there are some years where you just surf and keep getting crushed by waves (I have someone close to death in the hospital now myself) and it’s all one-day-at-a-time and being flexible (and for me praying!) – so we hang on. I do find that I count my blessings more during these times. It’s important to notice what we have and be grateful. Hugs from another knitter.

  176. Congratulations on your 14 Year blogiversay. Thanks for all the laughter, inspiration and knowledge that your have given to us both on your blog and in your books. Knitterly hugs to you.

  177. Stephanie,
    I’m very sorry that the not pleasant things in your life keep coming before you’ve even had the chance to catch your breath. There isn’t much more to say than that. My mom has some pretty severe health problems and I was talking with a friend who has seen more than her fair share of sad things in her life. I asked her for advice on how to make things better. She said to just be present. I told her that that wasn’t the answer I wanted and that I’d rather plan a mental vacation. But after her advice soaked in, it made sense. I need to be there for my mom but being present relieves the burden that I often feel of managing or fixing all the things that aren’t going how I planned. It’s a hard freakin’ thing to do.
    Hang in there.

  178. Hey Steph;
    Never comment, but you should know that around the time that you started blogging, i was spending a lot of time at home from work with my son who was experiencing a really difficult time and needed someone to BE THERE, even if we hardly talked. One of the things I did while “being there” was knit and surf the web – and found you…and what a godsend! Thank you for all your writing and honesty with which you talk about life…it’s a challenge sometimes! But really awesome! Son is doing great! And I’m still knitting!

  179. Peace, love, and comfort during this time. Thank you for sharing your life with us these fourteen years.

    I didn’t expect to start a yarn business at 55, but I am. It’s going well so far. I’ll ride it as far as I can take it without beating myself up, because life throws weird and unexpected shit. Like getting it into one’s head that dyeing yarn for people would be a fun thing to do.

    And now I’m reading that and going, “Wow.”

    Virtual, gentle hugs.

  180. We’re here for you. We always are. Just as you are here for us when we need something special or even not so special. Jut a little something.

  181. We love you because you’ve shown us repeatedly over the past 14 years what a good, caring, and loving person you are. From your children’s Hallowe’en costumes to decorating your bedroom (on a budget and a deadline, I recall!) to your fundraising, over and over again you come through as a genuinely caring person, and it’s hard not to respond in kind!

    Thank you, Stephanie, and I hope 2018 treats you more kindly than 2017 did. We’ve got your back!

  182. So sorry to hear life is tough for you right now. We are here for you.
    Thank your for sharing your perspective, humor, advice on knitting and insights on life in general.
    Your writing is tremendously honest and touching.
    Holding you in love and light.

  183. Like some others, I am not a frequent commenter, but I read every post – sometimes more than once! I so enjoy the way you share your life and your knitting with us, and I admire your ability to do so. I am glad we play a role in your life as well, good to feel it’s not a one way street. Hugs to you.

  184. 14.00 sent. In celebration of nothing ever being what we thought it would be. And for how that makes us better, stronger, closer, more humble, wiser, more loving, more frightened, easier to laugh, appreciative of the silent times. For being “here”.

  185. When I started reading your blog several years ago, I went back and started from the beginning, because it was that good. I still look forward to reading every post, though I’m not a frequent commenter. As long as you look forward to writing them, I will continue to look forward to reading them. Within these 14 years, I’ve also lost my mom and gained a son-in-law and 3 grandchildren. You grandson is adorable-almost as cute as mine 🙂 I am sorry that you are still in a rough time with family health, and I wish you and yours better days ahead.
    P.S. I was fortunate enough to meet you at a book signing years ago near Chicago and you admired my Baltic Sea stole. A highlight for me.
    P.P.S. One of my favorite posts is when you were locked out of your hotel room. I know it was awful for you, but it made for a fantastically funny read, and I thank you for sharing it!

  186. Another bit of the woodwork here. I rarely comment but always read. I once brought you homemade granola and yogurt to one of your book readings (and I never even go to events like that!). You probably thought it a bit weird and popped it in the trash for safety’s sake. But it was like family coming to town, staying at a dull hotel and not even coming over for supper! Not only that, but family known to have a hard time finding healthy food on the road. Truly you’ve made us all into a vast extended family. There’s so much support out here you couldn’t fall down if you tried. Hope it helps in the bleak times. That and scotch and a hot bath of course. Thanks don’t begin to say why we’re all so devoted. $14 coming up!

  187. I’m afraid I have nothing profound to say, but that I’m thinking of you with gratitude for all you’ve given me and that I know that whatever happens you’re strong enough to get through it with your usual strength, humor, and grace. Thanks for the laughs and the tears…

  188. Thank you – just thank you for sharing, making me laugh, bringing tears to my eyes. You are part of so many lives that you will never know. Take care of yourself.

  189. Happy 14th Blogiversary to you, and all of us who participate as the collective Blog. Ironic to be feeling lonely with such a multitudinous good-vibe coming at you, but as always, you describe these mixed emotional moments perfectly. I think of you as an excellent writer as much as a superb knitter.
    I wish you and your family well.
    And.. could there be a more ungainly word than “blogiversary”?
    Stay warm.

  190. Happy Anniversary! I cannot express how much pleasure reading your blog has given me over the years. My thoughts are with you and your family.

  191. “This is not the way I expected it to be” is a pretty good synopsis of life overall, I’d say: both for better and for worse.
    I’m so sorry the universe isn’t done with its edit to your family, and pray that you feel the quiet peace and warmth of community (both “real life”, and Blog)–even and especially when such gatherings are because of tremendously difficult circumstances. Warm wishes to you and yours~

  192. Happy anniversary! I’m so glad you still love us, because we love you, too! So many other bloggers have stopped blogging and moved on to other platforms. But there’s nothing like a great blog, and Stephanie, you have a great blog! Maybe it’s time to go reread it from the beginning again. You’ve built such a wonderful community — thank you so much for taking us along with you for the ride!

  193. I have been reading you since about 2006. Today I am struggling with leaving a very expensive luxury apt. to move 65 miles away DOWN THE SHORE (NJ for the beach). The rent is half of what i pay now, I have a very long history of the NJ shore, I have nothing to keep me where I’ve been for the past 24 years. I want to see the ocean everyday. Today while walking through my indoor parking garage (a true luxury at a truly luxurious price) I looked at the empty space of a neighbor with four young kids whose husband just left her. I forgot the woe is me, I have to leave this wonderful apartment, I and my son are separating (it’s about time too, it will do us both good and we are on good terms), I have to find a job, blah blah blah. The realization in the garage that I wasn’t that woman with four kids whose husband left, I didn’t have to get a smaller apt. to compensate financially, I didn’t have to trade in my van (hypothetically) for a smaller vehicle to pay less and I didn’t have to deal with four kids adjusting to no dad and all these other changes. That woman is up the creek, if you know what I mean. I have the freedom to do whatever I want. I have one grown child, his father is dead, and it is time for him to take care of himself. I have realized over the past two years that I have not done him any favors by expecting him to “get” household responsibilities by osmosis. I am not lazy, his dad was. The easier, softer way. It’s easy to blame the dead. Happy blogiversary. I am proud to say I have read each and every post to the blog by you, going back to before I started, and dropping out of life for two years, I came back, picked up my needles and read all that I had missed. Please keep writing. And I’m so glad that Elliott’s cheeks have finally defied gravity. And I have never stopped wondering what you wore to your wedding.

  194. Joining all of the other seldom-commenters to say thank you, Stephanie, for 14 years of smiles, laughs, tears, and trying to explain the humor to my non-knitting spouse. You have brought light into some dark places in my life and into countless other lives. My hope is that we can reflect that light back to you as you walk this hard journey with a loved one.

  195. You’ve been a constant source of joy, inspiration, thoughtful words, and beautiful pictures for me for well over a decade. I appreciate very much the gift you’ve given us by sharing your knitting and your life – the good and the bad – for 14 years. My thanks.

  196. Dear Stephanie. Thank you for opening your living room 14 years ago to anyone who was in need of inspiration, kindness, company, advice, laughter, tears, instruction, comfort, gift ideas and all the other things that have come up in the conversations we share.

    Tomorrow is my 59th birthday and right now nothing is what I expected it to be. Some really wonderful things, some terribly difficult things. So tonight I poured myself a bit of good Irish whiskey and sat back to consider the world and my place in it. I’ve decided that while I may sustain some bruises and scrapes I will come through it all, eventually. And I will do my damned best to start every day with a smile.

    To you, your family and everyone who visits your living room, I send peace and comfort and strength.

    Chris S in Canada

  197. Happy anniversary! Your blog is the very first blog I ever read. I didn’t know what a blog even was. You were so funny and real and all the knitting! I was a new knitter and was just amazed by what you were making. I kept reading and knitting and now my sewing room is a wool storage room-yarn, roving, fleece. The floor space is filled with a spinning wheel, floor loom and a couple of smaller looms. Not sure where that sewing machine ended up Thanks so much for blogging and sharing a bit of yourself. You and yours are in my thoughts tonight

  198. Happy Blogiversary, love. I am sorry it is such a hard time for your loved one and for you. I’ve been along since the beginning, even met you once when your old LYS was on Cabbage Street? sheesh. One of us is getting long in the knitting needles and it’s not YOU! I’m sending so much love and ease and may-it-go-as-well-as-it-can for all.

  199. Dear Steph – I can’t count the number of times you have moved me to laughter or tears or deep joy or or or

    Joe and the Truck, the saga of the wool-stealing squirrel, your homage to (I think it was) Sam on her 18th birthday, the little blue sock, your glorious wedding…

    No matter what life throws at your (and she’s been pitching some mean curves of recent) we love you. Your blog always has your back, from all over the world. You are our Harlot. And that grandbaby is a joy!

    Be well, breathe deep, and yes, make that a double Scotch.

  200. Donation done a day late. I think I must re-learn every year that your blogiversary is almost my birthday because I was surprised—again. I’m sorry the universe is testing your flexibility….

  201. Oh my goodness, Steph, I’m so afraid that you’re talking about Erin ….. I don’t know what to say except that what life gives us isn’t always what we want. In my 60 years I have lost 3 or 4 best friends to cancer, my husband to a stroke at 49, my darling dad to suicide at 85 and my mum to dementia when she reached that same age. People always say how amazed they are that one is so strong. (Like there is a choice.) But it is a choice to keep on going, and living well (or as best we can) is a testament to our friends and family that have gone before and to their memories. Each day is an amazing gift and you have so much to give us, your blog family. We will see you through all of this, and your talents and incredible family will add joy to our lives each time there is a new post. I’m so sorry for your pain and hope for some peace for you.

  202. Happy anniversary. Thank you so much for all you have written and the community you have gathered.

    Very best wishes to your family member, and you.

  203. A long time lurker – just putting her head above the parapet to say “Thank you” for sharing your life with the Blog. I can’t tell you how much you have helped me over the years with yes, Knitting but also in dealing with the things life throws at me with hopefully some of the same grace as you do. I often ask my self WWSD? (What Would Stefanie Do) and sometimes the answer is swatch 🙂 I just wish sometimes we could swatch life and rip it out when it doesn’t go as we want it to, but then it would not be a richly textured. Wishing you and yours all the best and looking forward to reading more Hartlot adventures

  204. I know how you feel. I bet you’ve had a ton of people say that to you in the past few months. But I really do. I woke up one day last February 18 and had my 70th birthday, and didn’t know I was that old. But then the kids started coming and I kind of figured it out. I have 3 adult kids…I have 13 grand kids and 5 great grand kids. okay, where did all that come about? Oh I know but the week before I don’t remember having all that mess. This is not what it is supposed to be. I am an orphan. All those that loved me aren’t there anymore. Out of the blue I found that I am not who I thought I was. Yeah. I am the result of a passion. Not married but still they thought it was love. I was 52 when I found that the bitch that raised me was not my mom but her sister’s brat. Don’t know why she took me but she did. And then to know that no one had the guts to tell me until I was 52 about the truth. I actually got to meet my birth father.. I grew up knowing my mom as my favorite aunt. I was raised alone. I am still alittle bitter. My mom/aunt was great, what I was given was a frustrated, mean, old woman. I am so envious of how you miss your mum. I was happy that mine was gone. Be quiet, talk to someone who can help better than us. I have a great man who I talked all this out. Kinda figured it all by myself. You will get thru this, I promise.
    It will get easier as time goes by. Go workout, or run, or yoga. Just something out diferently than norm. Mine is getting easier and I talk about it less and less. Take care love. Be with that family of yours. We love you too. You bring a friendship of yarn and share it around.
    Go to sleep. All is okay.

  205. I’m so glad that you have continued this blog. I feel like I have learned so much, and not just about knitting. I’ve learned a lot about your country and I feel like I’ve met a whole new group of people through this blog. Thank you for keeping it going for as long as you have.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

  206. Loved reading every word for the last fourteen years and looking forward to so many more! Cheers Stephanie. You sure know how to put a lot of my unshared thoughts on the screen, how to turn horribly embarrassing moments into tears of laughter and let me in on some of the most loving, touching intimate moments of your life. Love you!

  207. I read often but never comment either, but just let me say that your blog is an inspiration… and so are you. You are a creative spirit with an inner strength that is astounding. Reaching fourteen years on this blog is amazing, and here is to another fourteen more. And know, that no matter what is going on in your life, your courage, your creativity, and all the well wishes from the people that you have reached and helped over the last fourteen years will always be there for you. I am sending you lots of love and light and you are right… things never turn out the way you expected them to… but that is okay because what is life but an adventure full of twists and turns?

  208. Steph, like many, many others, I check your blog every day for a new post. Like many, many others, I went back and read your blog from the beginning. And like the rest of the Blog, I treasure your views on life. Particularly now – my Dad was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer 10 days before Christmas. As a family, we are coping with the cards that we have been dealt. Knowing that, as we take this journey, I will find wise words on your blog, both yours and the Blog’s, is very comforting. I am already on my second cowl to keep him warm – he is wearing the first one 24:7 🙂

    • Rowan, I’m so, sorry to hear about your Dad and am sending hugs. Picturing him wearing a cowl you made for him to warm him made me smile though, and I’m sure comforts him too. A little tip from a hospice nurse: tucking a heated rice bag (or sock) under the cowl may help too.

  209. Thank you for the 14 years of both laughter and love you have shared on this blog. I met you a few years back at Steven B’s in Minneapolis. I still think of your talk that evening— the knitting comments were delightful but it was your insights on how our culture dismisses women that have stuck with me. All the best to you and those you love. XO

  210. Steph,
    I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the blog may be more important to us than to you….You have seen me through depression, deaths in my family, major medical emergencies, adolescence (3 times!), two moves, and 4 hurricanes. You have brought me laughter when times were dark, validation when I was frustrated, a kick in the butt when needed, but most importantly, you allowed me to rediscover and revel in my joy of knitting. So happy bloggversary, my friend. And thank you!

  211. Stephanie, I have read your blog for 14 years…. off and on as life has not been anything I expected it to be either. I have to say that as a empty nester, sandwich generation middle ages woman between the kids fledging and aging parents, losses and career turns. …. I have found myself exactly where you are. And as we laugh, cry and grow together, we have learned that the only way we can get through life is to remember flexibility because it is one hell of a ride

  212. Oh, dear! My heart goes out to you! I echo all that’s been said.
    I donated $14. I thought of giving more, but my husband is facing uncertainty at work, plus I like that the 14 dollarses mess with their heads.
    Regarding your blog, I’m reminded of when your mum chided you for hiding your mess when the other mums came over. I was raised that way about personal issues. I was taught to hide them. Your openness about your feelings and the messiness of happenings helped me see my behavior was doing more harm than good, especially with my daughter. Thanks to you, I’ve been able to break some of the patterns I inherited and pass fewer of them on to her.
    When my child was small, I went through a bad time and experienced protracted depression. If it wasn’t for her needing me, I don’t know if I’d have made it. May Eliot be such a comfort to you.
    Your blog writings are like letters from a penpal who doesn’t mind that I never write back. Thank you for all you do.

  213. Stephanie –
    Thank you for sharing the sunlight and shadows of your life with us these fourteen years. (I also came upon you late, but I’m so glad you are there.) I love your wisdom and wit, which has helped me through many a tough time. Sending a virtual cup of tea (or something stronger) and a hug.

  214. I rarely comment, Stephanie, but I want you to know that I joined the “Freaking PWA Out” Club this morning. You’ve been there with me for many years, and have become an old friend.

    May The Blog live long and prosper, reminding us all of the happiness of knitting and the various beauties of life.

  215. Stephanie, you have a wonderful gift of connecting with people. Life sure has it’s way of throwing up stuff that we never saw coming. It’s how we deal with it and carry on that matters. There are so many of us sitting at our computer screens wondering how we got where we are. Thank you for sharing and being so honest. Love your blog.

  216. Happy Blogiversary, a day late! I have to agree, Holding on Tight and the Magic of Showing Up can be the key to life many times over, and in many different situations. Yoga is also good, but just getting up every day and showing up will help things make sense in the end, or at some point. I didn’t think it would be this way, either!

  217. Stephanie, the line about the universe not being done with the edits to your family caught my eye, and I sense that another loss is on the horizon. For that, I am truly sorry.

    But for 14 years of your blogging, for that, I am truly glad, and know that whatever the universe upchucks on us next, we’re here for you–and for each other. Big hugs.

  218. oh stephanie, happy fourteen!! you are an inspiration to me always; you showed me the way. thank you for every day that you’ve come to the computer to write to us, to bare your joys and insecurities and chaos; it is ALL worth reading when you write it.
    peace and love; your friend, anne.

  219. I’ve been reading your blog for about 10 years now and it occurred to me today, while reading this post, that someday you might stop writing and then what would I do? I love when you write about knitting but I also appreciate when you share about your life and adventures. You make me laugh, cry, smile and feel connected to something bigger than myself in a very nice way. I’ve been reflecting over the last few months, since you lost your mother, about my own mom and how my life might change when she’s gone. I mean, none of us is getting any younger, and while I’m only 36 and hope to have my mom for a good long while you just never know. I’m so sorry for your loss and I know that no one can take away your grief as you adjust to this new way of life but I am glad to be a reader and part of something that maybe makes it a teeny tiny bit easier some days. And I’m a few days late but I donated $14, just to freak some people out. I hope you find some measure of peace in your troubling times. Thank you for putting this blog out into the world.

  220. Happy Blogiversary, Stephanie. Thanks for sharing your life with us. I know recent years have been tough for you and I hope that we in the Blog have been of some comfort, even at a distance.

  221. Last night two folks I care about told me, together, that they have cancer. That’s not the way I thought it would be as we gathered together for the evening. I’ve been reading since the beginning (and before this blog) and I have spent a lot of time reading and nodding in understanding. I’m doing that now. Here’s to 15!

  222. Our hearts and thoughts are with you. You’ve made the universe better in so many ways, I’m glad that we were able to do the the same for you in some small way.

  223. “The magic of showing up.” I like that way of phrasing it.
    I haven’t commented for a long time, but I still read every post.

  224. I’ve been reading for almost the whole 14 years, and never tire of hearing from you. I admire you immensely, and think of you as a friend, even though we have never met. You are a splendid writer, and a splendid human being. Thank you for all of it.

  225. I’m sorry things are so tough for you right. Thanking you for 14 years of words. So glad I found you. Because of you I know what a doula is, and I knew that I would probably want one before I even knew when we would try for kids. I’m now 16 weeks with my first and having seen a little of your daughter’s birth experience I’m looking forward to cultivating a bit of that spirit in mine. Thank you. And I hope things get easier for you.

  226. I’m enjoying the fact that your PWA amount surged from about $4K to more than $18K in just a couple of days. I bet the PWA folks really ARE scratching their heads about how that happened! Happy Blogiversary and thanks for sticking with us!

  227. I’ll take one of those T-shirts. Life is rarely the way I expected it to be. It’s constantly surprising me, and I am forever trying to stay one step ahead. Thank you for being one part that always makes me smile. Makes me feel ok when my knitting has gone to hell, because if the Yarn Harlot can make a mistake and it is all ok, then maybe mine will be ok too. Maybe. I’ve only recently discovered the blog, but I devoured your books while I was learning to knit. Thank you for sharing so much with all of us.

  228. Yours is literally the first blog I look for in my feed, and I’m always happy when there’s a new post. Thank you for writing, and happy blogiversary. Thank you also for reminding us all that there is a lot of magic in showing up.

  229. Thank you, Steph, for giving us these opportunities to connect with you and each other, and to share sorrows and joys as well as laughter and knitting inspiration (and the cutest baby pictures!) I’ve been following you for about 10 years so will donate 10×14 to PWA in honor of you. (I’ve only commented twice all this time, but am doing so now to honor Presbytera’s request that we try to set a blog record on your anniversary!)

  230. In 2006 when I decided to revisit the knitting thing, I started looking around the internet for instruction and inspiration. I didn’t see this coming. Twelve years later, I have laughed, cried and knitted with you as if you were a sister. I have a whole crew of people who feel the same way with whom I am about to spend the weekend on a knitting retreat. Your name will come up. Thanks for the blog. It means a lot. Prayers for peace and healing for you and yours.

  231. Happy Blogiversary, Steph. I’ve been here for most of those years when you’ve stunned me with your wisdom, how you handle difficult situations, stand up for the ones with no voice, how you contribute both love and time to those you love & issues you care about.
    As far as living with loss and grief, trust me, time is your friend. The terrible rawness of new grief is a hollowing experience. Just when you think you can’t take another second of it, you do. We have no choice, we continue to breathe, our heart beats, our brain works its magic. We have to go on even tho’ we feel empty, like bones without marrow. Time is the only way to get through it. I think most of us can say: this isn’t how I thought it would be.”
    But in all the times that we’ve been dealing with our roller coaster lives, you’ve been here with your writing to cheer us, to make us laugh, to make us cry right along with you. And we do that now with you.
    Thank you for 14 years of friendship and love. I hope to keep reading here for another 14…that’ll make me 92.

  232. I lost the thread and stopped reading your blog for a bit because life intervened, and I just the other day told someone how much comfort and joy it had brought to me along with knitting and how both stopped when life threw me about 200 curveballs at once. I’m glad that sometimes we make you feel less lonely, because you probably make us feel less lonely, too. Thanks for persisting, like all good friends. It is so nice to be back home on the Blog and know that some things can be the same even as they change. Big hugs.

  233. I was having a rough day, but the idea of freaking people out by donating $14 to a worthy cause made it a teeny bit better. While I’ve been reading for years, and barely ever comment, your blog is one of the highlights of my day (now isn’t that sad). Congrats on a gorgeous grandson and 14 fabulous years.

  234. Thank you, that’s beautiful. Sad & tender. Others are going through perhaps what you so well expressed. Lucky for you your hands still work: while I’m slowing down. Thanks,

  235. Dear Stephanie, I want to thank you for this blog from the bottom of my heart. You are brave and courageous and funny and tender. You keep it real. And you keep going. I teach writing and literature to teenagers when I’m not knitting or spinning. Today in class, discussing Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis, we sat together and marveled at the strange twists and turns a life can take. We all have to figure out how to live our lives while we’re living them. Who said that? It occurs to me that maybe you did. It sounds like the sort of wisdom you have shared with us. Again, thank you.

  236. Everyone before me has said all I’d say. We all love the blog – and through it, YOU! Your writing is perceptive and hilarious and serious, at times all rolled into one post, and for sure never a let-down. It’s kept me going through life’s tough stretches too, and how well I know the *it wasn’t supposed to be like this* feeling – and how it gets stronger as we age, as our experiences expand and the consequences of time passing feel (and are) so much more profound. How did we ever manage without you?! I savour this 14th blogiversary; thank you very, very much!

  237. WWMD is my motto too. It’s comforting, and it never fails. As long as I’ve followed you I’ve been convinced your mother did a good job because you have your priorities straight: Make connections and nurture relationships at every opportunity. Thank you for making yourself vulnerable to the Blog. It’s a source of comfort and joy to all of us.

  238. Dear Stephanie,

    Bon anniversaire to you and Blog. We celebrate with you during this time.

    Personally, I want to thank you for the many moments of joy you’ve brought into my life as I took care of both my parents during their last days on earth.

    While I took care of them there were many, many lonely times, usually at 2 am. Do you know who got me through those times? Do you know who made me laugh through tears and exhaustion? Do you know who encouraged me to pick up my needles (or your books) for a smile? do you know who helped me when one passed, then the other all in the same year? It was you!

    You’ve given so much to so many by putting yourself out there, whether on the road to raise money for a cause or share triumps and not with knitters who smile (and swear) as we knit.

    It’s a hard time right now, but you’ve felt blog love and maybe in some small way we can be there to listen and inspire you.

    Feel the love, Harlot. It’s all around you.

    All you have to do is click.


  239. Can I just say it’s been one helluva ride and yeah, maybe this isn’t where I expected to be, and this is not what I expected either? 14 years is a blink of an eye and what feels like forever.
    Wishing you many more years of writing and the best to you and yours, though things sounded a bit dire when you wrote this post.

  240. Dear Steph, I have read your blog for 14 years, and knit socks because you do. I have always nodded in agreement with your parenting. And now, I know what you are going through with the loss of your Mom, and other relatives, one by one leaving you to be the wise one of the family. I’m trying to do my best, as you, but I never expected my life to end up this way. Or my children’s lives, or the world in general. I think being grateful for what I do have, and for the family and friends I do have left, gets me through the days when I really have no idea what to do next. And keeping on with the small tasks at hand, as you know, helps to keep up the spirit. I am thankful for the grandchildren. They are joy, hope, and fun. I say prayers for you and your family that you will have grace and help for the coming days.

  241. I read the first line of this post and thought, “Now I have to read this one! I think she understands.” So thank you for sharing your heart where all the world might see, that some might be encouraged. May you be encouraged – from someone else who, after three moves in four years, three teenagers in the house plus two youngers, and a wide world of crazy decisions to make felt grateful to read your words today (and for the last few years!)

  242. In my kitchen hangs this sign: ‘Life Is Nothing Like The Brochure’. These past two years, our family has known almost nothing but tragedy and grief, about every four months. It can be paralyzing. (And Trump is our President, so every thing feels extra icky for our family.) Please know that many of us hold you in our hearts and embrace you in our thoughts.

  243. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for every single word over the many years I’ve been part of The Blog, even though I’m not a commenter. My yearly donation is made with happiness and gratitude for the life you share with me and for what you add to my life.

  244. The magic of showing up. Yes. This.
    Your books and this blog changed my life. Thank you!
    We have you enveloped in a virtual cloud of love. Please lean into it when you need to.

  245. If your blog is fourteen, that means I “met” you when I was as far into motherhood as Meg is now. My firstborn is now taller than me, long-haired, opinionated, and very much a semi-adult. You have accompanied me on this journey and your writing has been a lifeline to some kind of sanity through more days and nights than you’ll ever know. I’m so glad your gift is reflecting back some of that warmth to you, while you need it.

  246. Congratulations on your 14th Blogaversary! I’ve been reading almost since the beginning and always get excited when I see a new post. I am so sorry your family is not doing well. I am not a religious person, but there was a time when I felt God was using my family for target practice and I just needed it to stop. All I can say is I am keeping your family in my thoughts. Keep Squeezing that grandbaby, they are made of magic!

  247. Nerd alert: I converted USD to CAD several times on a couple sites to make sure my donation made sense to you.
    I don’t comment often bc The Blog is brilliant and always quickly/succinctly/profoundly says what I’m thinking. But, on this day, I’ll pitch in… thanks for 14 years of knitting lessons and history lessons and how-to-be-graceful-in-crisis lessons and parenting lessons and badass-woman lessons and, yes, so many laughs that I can’t possibly count.

  248. You know, I came here a year ago on the advice of a knitter friend, touting your sage wisdom and excellent sense of humour. I was new to knitting, and could use all the advice I could get.
    Since you lost your mother and have laid bare the pain that comes with such a life event, I have felt even more fondly for your writing. It’s been 13 years my father has been gone and yet your words, the stages, your observations, they feel so familiar. And it breaks my heart for you, and it breaks my heart all over again.
    But there is a comfort in it. You are not alone, because I am not alone. The bereaved are in this together, whether we know each other exist or not.

    So thank you, for your wisdom, for your wit, and for being brave enough to share the crappiest parts with your anonymous audience. You have a fan for life, in me.

  249. Happy 14th Blogiversary! I came for the knitting and stayed for the whole package – the stories and developments of your family, the packing and airport shenanigans, the other knitters you meet, the bike rally, observations and wisdom on life – you are one of my sheroes. Big blog hugs, dear Yarn Harlot.

  250. Thanks for the blog. I appreciate your efforts
    “this isn’t how it was supposed to be” is the way of life. Hang in there, Stephanie. When I started reading your blog I was climbing mountains. Now I am in a wheelchair. “this isn’t how it was supposed to be”. I keep knitting and keep trying to enjoy my life with what I’ve got that still works. But I must tell you, I won the cancer lottery last fall. My husband noticed a basal cell carcinoma in my buttcrack when oiling my itchy, dry skin, and the doc got it all and we got it young, before it started shedding nasty cells, sez the lab. Who finds a cancer in time in a place like that that you can’t see yourself? I feel sooo protected. Those 2% humidity devil winds that made me so dry and itchy and started terrible brush fires saved my life. I must have something yet to do in this life. You do, too. Julie in San Diego

  251. Happy 14th blogiversary! I wish you strength for whatever you facing. And I want to thank you for all the wonderful stories and inspiration.We are here for you! You can do this, whatever it is you are facing.

  252. Happy Blogaversary Stephanie! Thanks for inviting us into your life. It’s a privilege to know you from afar and to be a part of “the blog”! Wishing you happier days ahead.
    (PS–Spellcheck just wanted to change Blogaversary to Loganberry which made me chuckle a little–hope it gives you a smile, too!)

  253. Lady Stephanie – you blog over the years has made me howl with laughter, drip with tears and make it through a day, an event, child-rearing, an illness ( serious or not) and I get to look at knitting and wool! What a treat. My Scottish Gran always said, “Whatever you do in life, try to do it with a little dignity and grace.” I think you epitomize her advice. thank you for the blog all these years, the Olympic challenge, the crazy teenage girls, the next generation of littles, wisdom and sharing. Well done, you!

  254. Playing catch-up after a minor kitchen flood that is still being remedied. Congratulations on 14 years. You have no idea how much your wisdom, insight, and humor have meant to us.

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