Fifteen

Fifteen years ago today, I sat down in my living room on an absolutely enormous family computer, and with Ken’s help, I posted the very first entry ever on this blog, and everything changed. That makes today my Blogiversary, and as is my tradition (you know how I love those) I went back to read my previous Blogiversary posts.  I got as far as last year, and then started to lose my scene, and had to drink coffee and knit for a while to get it together.

(Those are my January Self-Imposed-Sock-Club socks, I’d originally pulled a bag at random and the yarn in it was grey, and I looked outside at the deep dark that is a Toronto winter and thought better of it instantly. I put that bag back, and then next one I pulled was “Spring Forward” in this pretty pink.  Much better.)

I’ve got it back together now,  but I had entirely forgotten that I wrote last year’s post to you from a hotel room near the hospital while Susan was so sick – it makes sense now though, and I’m kinda a moron for not seeing that coming, I know it’s been almost a year since she died, and therefore last year at this time my life was on fire, and truthfully, that’s not what set me off.  It was reading the words “This is not the way I expected it to be.”

That theme last year was so hard for me.  I’m not the best at changing the channel – once I make a plan I really like it to happen the way I’ve decided, and the universe and I having such divergent goals and hopes over the last year and a bit has been… well. In the interest of being a positive and optimistic person, let’s just say it’s had a learning curve.  Almost nothing over the last year has been the way I expected it to be – which is not to say that things are bad, sometimes the way I expected things to be was horrible and what I got was definitely better than that, but it’s always different, like my prediction system is broken, and that makes me kinda nervous a lot of the time. It’s like at this time last year, the Universe took one look at me and said “she thinks she knows what’s going on. Hold my beer and watch this.” Then picked up my world as though it was a giant snow-globe, and giggled maniacally while watching all the bits float down into new and strange places as I scramble around trying to figure out which snowflake went where.

Just as an example, I know that I’ve told you that I’m the Chair of the Bike Rally this year, which isn’t exactly the job I was after there. The way that it works is that each Co-Chair serves a two year term.  One year they’re the incoming, and the next year the outgoing, and it’s staggered, so that there’s always a new one and someone who knows what they’re doing. Last year I was the incoming, and Ted was the outgoing, and Ted’s turn was up in September, and then it would be me as outgoing, and someone new as incoming, except that through a series of events generated by the snow-globe shake, that’s not what happened, and there was no incoming, and now… it’s me. It’s just me. What was already a pretty big commitment to the Rally is now a huge commitment to the Rally.

This is more than I bargained for. I’m not trying to register this as a complaint, I made the commitment and I’m fine with it, but it is a bit of an explanation for how wild things must seem.  People keep asking if I am in over my head, and the answer is yes. Absolutely. Between my work, our family, and this charity work, the water I am in is very deep, and completely, absolutely over my head.  There are even waves. Possibly a rip tide, I’m not sure, I don’t have time to notice. That doesn’t mean I’m drowning, I can promise you that – but it does mean that I have to keep swimming all the time or I will totally sink, and that is really, really tiring, even though I am a strong swimmer and enjoy the water.  It is not what I expected it to be.

Neither is the new shape of our family what I expected it to be, almost a year out from the shocking exits that Tupper, Mum and Susan made, although I think I am getting the hang.  I still miss my mother acutely, especially as I navigate all these surprises. She gave the best advice, and I think I’d be doing a better job of it all if she was here to help me – although her advice usually didn’t include knitting, and frankly I’d be in prison or at least a court mandated anger management program right now if I wasn’t surrounded by yarn all the time.  (I tried to do that Marie Kondo de-cluttering thing where you get rid of anything that doesn’t “Spark Joy.” It resulted in the purchase of MORE YARN. I feel like I understand that woman completely.)

So I sat there this morning, having a bit of a thing, remembering what it felt like this time last year. Sitting alone in that hotel room, wondering if I had what it took to face what I had just realized was happening, and reaching out to The Blog as I did it… and I realized that there has been one thing that was what I expected it to be this  past year. it was you.

I meant what I said on last year’s Blogiversary.  I could never, ever have predicted what this Blog would become. I didn’t see it coming,  but over the last year my darlings, in the force of a storm that I thought would change everything, there you are, every time I manage to stagger back here for a gulp of air… The Blog. You sure weren’t what I expected in the beginning, but now you’re so steadfast, so reliable, you feel like a safe place for me to land over and over, and every time I do land here lately, I can’t remember why I don’t do it more often. (Except for the previously mentioned combination of perfectionism and lack of time, but I’m working on that.) I know that I haven’t been as present here as any of us wish, and I’m so sorry. I am grateful that you’ve stuck with me, even while it’s really hard for me to type and swim at the same time.

I wish there were words better than Thank You. Words that could convey what a tremendous gift you are in my life, and what your presence has meant to me, and as always on this day, it is so hard to convey what this group of people – most of whom I’ve never met, are for me. You are exactly as I expected you to be this last little while, which is, as always, so much more than I deserve.  I love you.

Thank you for fifteen.

(PS. If you are feeling traditional and sentimental, today’s the day that people make donations to my ride (because I’m still also a rider, even though I’m the Chair) in multiples of the number of blog years I’m at.  While I admit random donations of $13 or $14 was more confusing for PWA (and therefore more entertaining for me) multiples of $15 have a lovely solidity to them. If I’ve entertained you $15 worth over the last 15 years, the link for donations is here.)

200 thoughts on “Fifteen

  1. ” … now… it’s me. It’s just me. What was already a pretty big commitment to the Rally is now a huge commitment to the Rally.

    This is more than I bargained for. I’m not trying to register this as a complaint, I made the commitment and I’m fine with it …”

    Someone else needs to say this because you are too nice to say it:

    SOMEBODY ELSE INVOLVED IN THE BIKE RALLY HAS TO STEP THE HELL UP AND GIVE YOU A G/D BREAK.

    Period.

    • Oh Janis, thank you for that sentiment, and I didn’t mean to make it sound like I’ve been abandoned, far from it. While I may be alone in this role, I’m not alone in general. There’s the entire Steering Commitee, and the resource staff at PWA has been great.

      • Stephanie, you are sweet, talented, super-committed to justice, very organized and capable, and the kind of person who won’t let on that she’s drowning until the bubbles are just about to stop. Please for pete’s sake don’t put a good face on this, and let them know that you need a partner and that you can’t do it again next year.

        • I agree with Janis. This isn’t about toughing it out, and it shouldn’t be an endurance nightmare.

          It is the opportunity to learn how to be a manager. On 6/5/17 PWA put out a “Call for 2018 Co-Chair” and this should be put out again. And while you are at it, since you are now in charge, why not ask for for 2 or 3 Co-Chairs to get through this year and set up a smooth transition for when you rotate out.

          Get AS MUCH help as you need. Maybe the job requires a team of 10…this is how positive change happens!

          • I’m completely onboard with what was said above. It is a good organization with dedicated people. However. I’ve been a part of numerous not-for-profits in my life, and there have been times in each one where no one else would step up to the plate. I learned, very early, that unless you want to be overwhelmed and feel endlessly guilty, you need to voice now that this is not acceptable, and the Rally cannot expect you to do this again next year. Having someone shadow you for such an important event is essential, or it might not happen. Do please tell them now. And thank you for 15 years!

    • This.

      You aren’t alone and it’s January and only going to get bigger. You need a 2nd, and you need to make all the noise now to get one so that they don’t get complicit, and allow themselves to say “Oh, she’s fine, she’s got this” when it’s June and you’re neck deep and starting to drown.

      Do it. Yell and flail now. I don’t care how supportive they are, that will change as things pick up and you will be lost.

      • Also the succession plan isn’t happening – which means next year either you’ll need to do it again as outgoing for a new incoming co-chair, or leave an incoming co-chair to do it on their own.

        Thank you for your blog, truly one of the best.

      • YES!! As a fellow blog follower commented above – this is an opportunity to practice Proper Management Skills! Leave the program in a better place that when you joined. In other words, holler a lot right now, coerce (ha ha) at least TWO co-chairs, and you all learn together. A very wise mentor, very early in my career, told me that I should always be training my replacements and working myself out of a job. That advice has served me well during the last 30+ years of career progression.

        And…Happy Blogiversary!!

    • And now as Chair you can start a New system. 1 Chair and 2 Side Tables…the Rally will only get bigger and the need will only get greater. There needs to be a better committed back up to the Chair NOW. As we all know, life happens, it interrupts Rallies and incapacitates riders. And in case no one noticed, Steph is looking a bit twitchy and may spark during the next rainstorm or her body may require a Rest at an Inconvenient Time.
      So in Steph-speak: “any help would always be appreciated” means THROW THIS WOMAN A LIFE PRESERVER.
      (Really? Ride and Solo Chair? Your commitment will never be questioned- it’s okay to do just one. But that’s thinking like a mere mortal, yeh?)
      You are an amazing inspiring human-I hope I get to grow up to be just like you.

      • Yes, yes, yes! I’m a volunteer for a hospice organization. Our one-and-only bereavement coordinator has needed to take a sudden unanticipated leave of absence this past month. Scrambling to figure out the big picture, to keep things going, and to keep meeting people’s needs has been difficult. Hence the reminder that EVERYONE needs a deputy!!

      • What Janis said, and even more what Snow said. Next September, when you are stepping aside and there isn’t someone to step into the lead, will you really have to do it again? You know you probably would. Train two side tables and have more bases covered. Sorry for the mixed metaphors, but this is what I have tonight.

        As for the Blogiversary, I pretty much feel about you the way you feel about us. I retired a little over a year ago, but for the several years leading up to that wonderful date, you got me through many afternoons from hell. You have been there for me. Sometimes with wisdom, sometimes with tears, and sometimes with belly laughs. Each post took me out of my problems and gave me a bit of perspective. Thank you. Happy Blogiversary to all of us.

        • Guys, don’t we know that Stephanie never takes any advice that includes doing less, slowing down, handing off part of the job to someone else who isn’t a family member (at Christmas) or (what she sees as) shirking?

          • Yes, but it time to recognize that being a bit older you can really impact your health negatively by being overworked!

    • Agreed Janis! Also – maybe this one year you don’t ride? Run the whole gig – and ride next year. Leading and following at the same time is near impossible. IMHO.

    • Agree! Plus the sock pic – what could be better? Thanks to Stephanie who took the time to let us know how she’s doing!

  2. Undoubtedly you had a year from Hell. I think you’ve handled it with as much grace and dignity as anybody could have. Your honesty and integrity have been disarming. I have shared some of your most plaintive posts with my sister, as we soldiered through our mother’s final year with Alzheimer’s. Thank you for all the years of humor, knitting, and tales of endurance. God bless you, and I pray that 2019 will give you more joy. (P.S. I completely agree with you about Marie Kondo. LOL)

  3. I discovered your blog a couple of years after you started. What that means is that although we technically don’t know each other, you have been a part of my life for 13 years. This connection you feel to the blog is not one sided. Thank you. Thank you for your humor. Thank you for your insight. Thank you for loving yarn as much as I do. Thank you for not giving up when grief overwhelmed you. Happy Blogiversary.

  4. Hold my beer… A good way to describe it. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself over the years, and especially this past year. You are much loved, and hopefully the universe will get its act together and start behaving properly again.
    I’m glad you got more yarn.

  5. Donated to this amazing cause – I can’t ride, so I’ll support you so you can ride and support those who can as the leader of the gang.

    And if I can figure out how to fix what I did so that my company matches the donation, I will.

  6. I suspect we out here in Blogland are as connected to you and your Blog as you are. I know I miss seeing your posts when you are swimming and not posting, and am hopeful that through the years I have offered the kind of support that you can use and need. I hope that someone else will step up and help chair the Rally. It really is la huge commitment for one person — even if she is the Yarn Harlot!

  7. If no one wants to be the incoming chair for the rally, then the rally committee needs to be restructured so that being the chair is possible as a one person job. Divide and conquer is your friend – and maybe people can live longer on the committee with a human sized piece of the job. I’m fearing how it will be next year, when there’s no incoming chair to be promoted and everyone around you says, “but you’re so good at it.” and then you get to whitewash the fence once more.
    Also – Happy Blogiversary – so glad you’re here.

    • That’s exactly what I was thinking about the rally committee.
      Anyway, you’ve been a significant part of me starting the day on a positive note for years now. I miss you over the quiet spells, know there’s a reason for them, and celebrate when we hear from you again. Please accept a long-distance hug, shoulder, and deep breath. Di

    • ” … how it will be next year, when there’s no incoming chair to be promoted and everyone around you says, “but you’re so good at it.”

      Exactly.

      Steph has more than earned the right to just RIDE in the rally as a typical cyclist and enjoy the trip for once — and it’s a mark of her skill level that JUST riding in a zillion-mile bike race in god knows WTF kind of weather is what passes for “taking it easy.”

  8. Dear, dear lady,
    I don’t remember when I found you, but since then, I’ve returned to read ALL of your blogs. I saved a couple about your hilarious conversations with your children over summer activities and restricting time in front of the one-eyed monster. I took the easy way out and got rid of the monster, and that was in the days prior to instant gratification on cell-phone or lap-top.
    Life has moved us on and surprised us with joy and grief and your gifted writing has been such a treat for all those adventures.
    THANK YOU

  9. A few thoughts, Stephanie:

    a) Hi, I love you, and I’m not alone here– WE ALL love you!
    b) You are amazing and an inspiration, and, while I don’t want to sound weird– the more you post, the more productive I am. Why? Because you inspire me to get off my arse and DO THINGS.
    c) I’m knitting a baby blanket as I read today’s post. While this isn’t entirely relevant, it FEELS relevant given how many baby blankets you’ve posted about over here.
    d) Because I feel it can’t be said too often, the Blog loves and thanks you right back.

  10. You made me laugh so much with your Marie Kondo comment! I can’t afford to donate anything today, but I will try tomorrow. I admire you so much and you have given me so much with all you write. I hope that this year is not as challenging for you as last year as been (how could it be? Should I even ask?) Don’t forget to pamper yourself at every opportunity, and the same for knitting. Thanks so much for all the inspiration, and especially for the laughs.

  11. Dear Steph,
    We all get so much from you. You give all of us a sane place to be. Thanks to you ( and Ken) for giving us the amazing gift of the Blog.

  12. I have been reading your blog for quite a few years now – cannot tell exactly, how many. Six? Eight? I never commented, because every time I got my act together (meaning mustering my English, which is not my native language), there were something like 150 comments already, so I thought it did not make a difference. But I feel that after all these years I should tell you how much I enjoy hearing from you. I love the way you talk/write about knitting, about your family, about your commitments. I admire you for the way you speak your mind and get involved. I am intrigued by the way your writing can make me feel close to somebody living an ocean and half a continent away. And even though English is not my native language, I appreciate and enjoy your way with words. In the future, I promise to say that more often. Happy Blogiversary!

    • Dear Eleonore,
      I don’t know if you’ll ever see this message, but I do hope so. I’m in the language business, in a way, and your English is a pleasure to read. Better than a lot of natives! Don’t convince yourself otherwise.

      Dear Steph,
      I’ve been reading your blog since I read aloud from your first book, sitting in the back seat of a car with a broken ankle, while a friend had to do all the driving. We both laughed non-stop through that several hours drive. I hate change, too. Somehow it makes it easier knowing you do, too, but hang on anyway.

  13. We have all felt like we were swimming frantically in order to stay afloat. There have been times when I’ve just stepped outside to shake my fist at the heavens and shout “MOVE THE DUMP-TRUCK! I’VE HAD ENOUGH!” while I’m not sure it changes much, I sure feel better and thus am better able to get back to it all. I often describe it as trying to juggle jello. Hang in there. We’re all behind you using a “bail bucket” to try to lower the water level so you can once again touch bottom.

  14. I LOVE reading your blog and my husband enjoys it when I read one of your posts to him over breakfast (because your blog is the first place I go in the mornings)…I have been reading and learning from you for more years than I can count. You are someone I treasure. Thank you and, as a good friend of mine always says, ‘Take care of you!’. Happy Blogiversary.

  15. This blog, and YOU, mean so much to me, and it’s funny to think for how long I’ve been reading it and thinking of you as a person and knitter-friend, so thank you. It’s especially comforting right now because I’ve had a very unsettling and bewildering year as well, and I just got some bad news right before I read this post as a means of comforting myself and getting out of the sad place I was in. That universe -snow globe analogy is EXACTLY how I’m feeling right now, and having you describe that feeling in such a warm and amusing and accurate way really, really helps. Thank you, and happy 15!

  16. You know how sometimes you read someone’s column or book or blog and then you meet them and you want to shout: who the H are you???
    As someone who has had the pleasure of meeting you, I must say I think it’s great that who you are in the blog matches who you are in person, meaning lovely, and funny, and thoughtful, and . . . I could go on.
    Congrats on the blogiversary and thanks for every post.

  17. See, here’s the thing I don’t know if you realize.

    You help me. Everytime I come here and read about new babies and knitting and tragedy and knitting and The Rally and knitting, I find something that helps all the seesaw of my life feels little less like balancing on a six inch strip between two places.

    You share things and show how you cope and how you celebrate and it gives me an insight into how to do differently while I’m also reminded how much the same we all are.

    So, thank you. Thank you for being amazingly open and vulnerable, for being generous and for not being too afraid to share that you need help and advice and that maybe, just maybe, it’s ok to ask for the floaties when the water is getting deeper, even if you’re nominally a grown-up and you like swimming.

    Thanks for 15 years of being my floaties.

    PS, you can borrow my floaties, anytime. They’re green, with bears on.

  18. Steph – fifteen years ago I found your blog. You saved me. When I was drowning in motherhood, loss , death of loved ones, isolation – you were there.
    You are one of the constants in my little world and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Know that you are loved , respected and valued by many .

  19. Think of us all as your temporary life preservers to help keep you afloat amidst all that you have going on. Reading your blog also helps the rest of us keep our heads above water too!

  20. The photographs of your socks made me want to knit socks. Actually it was the heel flaps that did it. I had never seen handknit socks before 2011. Now all my socks are handknit. Thank you. From remote, west coast of Ireland.

  21. Mostly a lurker here, but my prayers and thoughts have been with you. Unfortunately the bumps just keep coming sometimes! And sometimes “bumps” is a huge understatement. Reaching back to just say – thanks for sharing with us blog readers.

  22. Happy blogiversary!
    I was just thinking to myself, isn’t it about time to make that January donation to the bike rally?
    Thanks for the amazing gift of the blog that you keep giving to us.
    (yes to those above who said you have to get bike rally help as you can’t be solo chair this year or next!)

  23. I am a newbie compared to many, only 4 years, I think. But I have loved every post, every loving picture of knitting, yarn, and family. And I have shed many a tear in grief and happiness, thank you for sharing. You make our lives better with EVERY post, short, long, sad, happy. I have wonderful people in my life, (many of them knitters,) and I am so supported by them, but you offer a different kind of support. Sometimes when you are at home and feeling down, there’s the blog. When you are away or busy with the world, (and I do mean the world, you are amazing,) I go back and read an old blog, as I have so many I have missed. You make my day when things are little too quiet or it’s a tough day, as we all have. Thank you.

  24. Happy Blogiversary to you! We’ve watched your kids grow up, your nieces and nephews appear, and loved ones be challenged and leave a lasting impression. Our lives have experienced some or all of the same in fifteen years. But we have turned to you for sanity, surety and silliness for balance. And we’ve been here to offer the same. And then we knit too!!
    Bless Ken for wanting the world to get to know and appreciate you as he does.
    I’ve become a better knitter and I believe a better person by YH Blog wisdom.
    Bless you and yours Steph!

  25. No, no, no. So sorry but I have to correct you:
    THANK YOU!
    You have meant so much to me & opened so many doors & windows that had been invisible.
    Many thanks
    Lin

  26. Stephanie,
    I started reading The Blog about 12 years ago. Of course I read all the earlier posts, too. You write my heart; never failing to move or amuse or educate me (often all in the same post). I can’t thank you enough for your honesty and inspiration. Happy Blogiversary, and I’ll pray that your world is allowed to settle down a bit. We love you, God bless.

  27. It has been a couple years of swimming for all I’m worth here, too; what is it with life in this day and age??? Wishing you strength, and the chance to at least just tread water every once in awhile if you can’t climb out of the ocean.

  28. Thank YOU. Thank you for your blog, and your honesty. Reading your words and the blog’s replies also helped me get through a 2018 where my department got re-org’ed (again), a co-worker was murdered, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and I ran a one-woman nursing home for 2 months while working, and my dad died and I became guardian for my mom who is in end stage Alz.

    Watching you deal with subsequent waves of loss, reading the blog’s wisdom, those helped me too in a hellish year.

    So thank you.

    Also I agree with those who are telling you that you need to draft someone to co-chair or you’re going to be doing this next year too. You need to put on your own life preserver because you can’t do it all (I’ve tried this past year, so I know). Even though you have proved time and time again that you’re superwoman (at great cost to yourself), you just keep pushing the bar higher until eventually you’re going to crash, and you’re going to take some things that are very important to you with you when you do.

    Please listen to the blog this time too. It’s OK to not be able to do every damned thing every other person on earth expects or asks you to do, and especially not everything you think you should be able to do.

  29. We love you too and thank YOU too!
    And, what tammy and margie D already said above.
    I’m so glad you keep blogging now and then, despite being so busy. We all need to keep on swimming.

  30. Dear Yarn Harlot i haven’t known you for the fifteen years you have been blogging, but like all your readers, so enjoy your writing. You have been brave enough to share the hellish times, and I have loved reading about the babies, weddings, holidays and knitting. We do our best to support you, and never forget that you return the favour many times over, lifting spirits on sad days, and writing such memorable posts. Happy blog anniversary!

  31. You are a gift to us. I am so happy to see your blog after so long…however I do agree with those who want you to stop carrying the whole Rally universe on your shoulders – don’t contradict!! I know it’s not that way in reality, but it feels like it, that’s the way it is. You are much too valuable to all of us in the knitting world to go down a rabbit hole now, especially after the very hard year you’ve had. So, please make changes in your Rally world. I totally second the advice from LizFM.
    It doesn’t get any easier as life goes on. By all means “tend to your knitting” and your growing family (which of course includes your ever faithful Blog friends).

  32. I haven’t read you this whole time, but I have been reading recently, and I find your posts so inspiring. Acknowledging the perfectionism, the lack of control, and the rolling and swimming with it all, is something I struggle to do. Lots of good wishes to you in the coming year, and thank you for posting — as much as you find it helpful, I do too! <3

  33. Twelve years. I’ve been reading your blog for twelve years. And we have met, twice actually. You won’t remember, but I’ll never forget. My son, who was 18 at the time, won’t forget attending your presentation in exchange for the opportunity to take photos in Shreveport! He couldn’t wait to tell his friends and classmates how he spent his weekend!
    I’ve felt such a kinship. Though I am a good bit older, our children are near the same age. I’ve so identified with teen year stuff. When my dad was ill and subsequently died, I shared many of the feelings you expressed.
    I have not posted here because you have so many to read. Often others have already expressed what I was thinking, and I didn’t want to be redundant. I check frequently, and was relieved and delighted today to read your posts. Thanks for sharing!

  34. You don’t know me – we’ve never met – but you have added much to my life. I have read all your books and posts (and return to some favourites when I need a fix and you’ve been swimming hard. Just reread the 2007[?] cabin-in-the-woods series. Priceless.)

    Thank you for sharing. You have made me laugh. And cry. You have inspired me to knit socks, and to (try to) look at my life w a bit of an eye to the humour. And your recent stories have reminded me that while my relationship w my mother might be a little fraught, some people have relationships like yours. I’ve cried for what you’ve lost, and for what I’ve missed, but mostly, thanks for reminding me what that can look like.

    Off now to rip back four inches of lace shawl. Because apparently there are days when k2tog yo is just too complicated? Still, you’ve also taught me that knitting is knitting is knitting, and in knitting, I can just do it over.

    Happy 15th.

  35. I don’t like change could be translated to I need to be in charge, damn isn’t it a kick in the teeth when you find out you had no control at all

  36. Happy Blogiversary Stephanie! Fifteen. A strong number indeed. I agree with all those above who want the Ride folks to be sure there is someone coming along behind you. There are reasons it was/is a two year commitment. Thank you so much for continuing to share with us, The Blog! It is the highlight of my day when there is a post from you! Did you see Franklin’s cartoon about M Kondo!? Spot on as usual. Wishes for time to breathe and time to yourself and time to love your family well, and lots of time to knit! Here’s to fifteen more!

  37. Many happy returns of the day! Happy for us all.

    “I tried to do that Marie Kondo de-cluttering thing where you get rid of anything that doesn’t “Spark Joy.” It resulted in the purchase of MORE YARN. I feel like I understand that woman completely.”
    Yup, I think you’ve got it there. House full of things that spark joy? Check! Well done.

    I must admit to being a keen declutterer (at times) but I’ve never decluttered yarn. Except for a bit of inherited acrylic, because it gives my hands the heeby-jeebies on the needles.

  38. It has been 15 years? That was fast! I have been reading the blog from the beginning. It is undoubtedly due to you that I am a knitter today…and it is a huge part of my sanity. I apparently took your early comments that sock yarn doesn’t count directly to heart. Then I became a spinner….I definitely have a S.A.B.L.E. stash. All because you started a blog and I found you early on. You made knitting and all that springs from it seem possible and normal and it really changed my life. Sock Summit 1 was among the best days of my life..smiled so much my cheeks hurt! Don’t underestimate yourself, Stephanie. It’s been a great two-way street! (And by the way, I agree with the comments about demanding help completely….there are other bike rally people and they need to step up with you. Insist. It is too much and you don’t want your health to suffer)

  39. Happy Blogaversary! I don’t comment often but given all you’ve posted about and how much this blog means to you I felt the need to let you know how much you mean to the blog universe. You are a talented and gifted writer and knitter and a real person who is open in sharing the good, the bad, and sometimes the ugly of what we call life. Thanks for sharing it all. And enjoy knowing your blog has caused me to buy more yarn, knit patterns you’ve shared, and buy two rigid heddle looms. You’ve enriched my life and the yarn community!!

  40. “Just keep swimming….” (in my best Dory voice) because we’re all here in the water with you. Happy Blogiversary! Thank you for sharing yourself with us all these years. I’m off to donate now.

  41. Thank you for sharing your heart, Stephanie!
    You’ve made me laugh , smile and think!

    I wish you peace and joy.
    Margieinmaryland

  42. Happy Blogiversary,
    I must have wandered in 10 or so years ago. We raised teenagers together and you lured me away from crochet. You seemed to be having so much fun…and now I’ve become a Knitter. Thank you for the instruction,encouragement and inspiration.

  43. Congrats on your 15th milestone! You make me laugh & cry with your stories.
    I agree with many other posters that you need to address the Bike Rally Chair “job” immediately so that before it gets snarly, you already have 2 assistants.
    This in no way means you can’t handle it but let’s be real…you are already wearing several hats.
    Did you know that all your sock pictures have finally inspired me to try my hand at knitting a pair. Now kitting up my 3rd pair!♥

  44. Ten years ago today, a lonely ex-pat woman put four (I think it was four — maybe five) bins of her own yarn that she’d used for packing material in an international move (Nashville, TN to Boquete, Panama) in the back of her little car. And she drove into town to the patio of a little, frankly somewhat rundown hotel where she schlepped those totes of yarn from the car. Her hope — her dream – was to meet other women who were interested in knitting baby things for the profoundly impoverished indigenous babies. Her premise was (and still is) “I’ll give you my yarn and I’ll loan you my needles. But you have to knit for ‘my babies.’ ”
    Ten years later the Boquete Knitters and Quilters is a small, but well-respected and admired charity that has quite literally saved and improved the lives of countless tiny neighbors of ours.
    I mention this not to toot my own horn, but to tell you that sharing an anniversary with you brings me great joy. As do your blog posts. I don’t know you, but I “know you”. And I’m glad.

  45. Happy Blogiversary! Thank you for posting! I love to read your beautiful, inspiring words about life. You make the world a better place in so many ways.

    I know it is easy for us all to hand out advice about the Bike Rally from hundreds of miles away, and I know that you’re willing to give (and have given) a lot of your life to the Rally. But I agree with what others have posted — if there’s a way for another chair to step up, then that should happen for everyone’s benefit. I hope you might find the snow globe shaking less often if you give yourself a little more breathing room. And maybe it might help make the things you love to do more fun, and not feel like additional burdens.

  46. When it seems overwhelming Stephanie, take a deep breath, tie another knot (knit?) in the end of your rope and just hang on for a couple of minutes, then dear Stephanie, designate, designate, designate.

  47. For me over the years, your blog has been a safe haven, a celebration of humanity in all the best ways, a friendly Canadian breath of fresh air and sanity when I’ve needed it most, and such a great source of what it means to be a thoughtful human being. Thanks so much for the years of authenticity. I appreciate you so much!

  48. Me, too, all of the above. I’ve shared your adventures for many years and never fail to be amazed by how well your words caress the heart. Thank you from the bottom of mine. You’ve educated me, encouraged me, inspired me and held my hand through rough times. You are very special with some very special gifts. I hope that you can feel how much we love you and how much you deserve good moments, too. And remember that no one can do it alone. Thank you for being you and for being willing to share. P.S. Put up the “help wanted sign.” Now!

  49. I’m sure you know as well enough as any swimmer that it’s okay to sometimes roll over onto your back and float, tides be damn’d! You’ll get where you were going to ‘get’ and likely not be half as tired. Happy 15 years, We Love You too…

  50. I usually read your blog, then read the comments, then find that there are 50 to 100 people who said what I wanted to say only better. This time I am NOT reading the comments because I don’t think anyone can hear this enough. You are the reason I am proud of what I do. You are the reason I sometimes knit in public. You usually make me laugh when I need so badly to laugh. You sometimes make me cry when I so badly needed that cry. You are the reason I haven’t hit my husband over the head but instead explain to him how fabulous I am when I knit. You are the reason I am proud of what you do. I pray that you will always WANT to blog because we will always want to read.

  51. Stephanie, you are as much a mainstay in my life as the Blog is for you. THANK YOU for making me feel like I am not alone in my love for knitting and all things yarn related. You have armed me with snarky replies (that you only thought and wrote about, since you are a kind Canadian and would never actually say ) to those who have made fun of or misunderstood my knitting. You have made me a better mom by helping me understand that my time is better spent making memories with my girls than having a tidy house. You have made me laugh when I was sad and cry when you suffered. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you once. (I took your silk cocoon class at River Colors Studio in Lakewood, Ohio on your “round Lake Erie tour”) You were genuine, funny and just lovely. We don’t know each other at all really, but you feel like a friend. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be a part of The Blog. It is a large entity, but it’s somehow intimate. There’s just nothing else like it. My world wouldn’t be the same without it. Thank you for sharing your life with us for 15 years. It’s been a hell of a ride, but we’ve ridden through it together. Love and hugs to you, Steph. We’ll always be here for you!

  52. First of all: Thank you! I’ve been teaching the blog for 13 years (one of the first that I discovered when I started knitting) and it’s been a great source of joy, humour, and inspiration over the years.
    Second of all: How can we help? Could some of us take on the admin of the karmic balancing gifts (or anything else) to take something off your very full plate?
    Third of all: It’s 1:18 am here in the UK (why yes, I do have a baby) and it’s a good thing my mobile number starts with a zero, else I would have made a donation of 750 million dollars thanks to autofill

  53. Happy Blogiversary! It’s been an inspiring 15 years, Lady. I will keep you in my prayers. The Rally is a noble cause and your commitment is wonderful.

  54. Thank you for writing The Blog. It brings me great joy to follow you and I always look forward to your posts. The great gift of the blog (to me) is that I always get a birthday blog post to read on your blogaversarry. I was just thinking that I didn’t get myself a gift for my birthday, but I think I’ll donate instead. Happy Blogaversarry!

  55. No thank YOU for 15 years of sharing your life with us. (And a personal thank you. At the June 2018 retreat, when I mentioned that my name had been spelled wrong all weekend, you ran out and had it corrected. Even though things were done and it really didn’t matter. The gesture was lovely.)

  56. Steph, I think I’ve shared this with you before, but I discovered your blog in October 2004, nearly a year after my marriage ended and a couple of months after I picked up my (childhood-learned) knitting again and was introduced to the world of blogs. That year was not my first rodeo in life not turning out as I thought it would (or should), and it has certainly not been the last – in fact, I think pretty much every year of my life has not Gone To Plan and has more often than not involved some heart-wrenching issue to deal with (I’ve learned this is, in fact, ‘normal’ (whatever that means)). What I’ve become very skilled in is being bendy and pliable and being able to sit with What Is rather than hanging on to I Wish, which I wish I could say gets easier with time and experience, but I can’t, it just becomes more familiar and less scary, because each and every time I’ve come out more than just ok – yes, a bit more bruised and battered but my roots in what I believe and live by are deeper and stronger, and I pray this is your experience, too.
    This year is no exception, I’m grateful that the Not What I Thought It Would Be surrounds a very good thing in our lives as a family, perhaps the most challenging time of my life to date, but so, so good. And reading posts like yours today reminds me that despite the fact we don’t know each other, you are part of what I look forward to in the dailies of life, you have been a consistent presence in my life for 14+ years, you are part of the good and even though I don’t agree with you on everything, I always come away encouraged and uplifted, even in (perhaps especially by?) your grief and sorrow.
    So thank-you, which to echo your words doesn’t seem enough, thank-you for your faithfulness and willingness to serve, thank-you for your willingness to share and invite us into your life.
    Happy Blogiversary 🙂

  57. I haven’t been reading your blog for more than a couple of years. But I have read every single blog post, some more than once. Thanks for 15 years! (And get help with the Rally). Love to you and yours

  58. Thanks for all your posts. You have a way of reaching right into the heart of things, and have touched deeply, and often, over these many years. In the “sparking joy” department, this blog definitely is a keeper.

  59. Stephanie, you will be doing the Rally a huge favor if you draw a line and lead in revamping the leadership responsibilities so they are more spread out. Organizations fizzle and die when they become unmanageable. You don’t want that, no one else wants that, and that’s the path it sounds like you’re on. Fortunately it’s January and you have time to make changes. Get help now, for the benefit of the cause.

    • I agree with Dee. You absolutely need to get help with the rally for YOU. But perhaps even more importantly, you need to get help with the rally for the survival of the Rally and PWA itself. If this organization and the work it accomplishes is to survive, people must be willing to step up and take their turn. If not even one person is willing to help this year, leaving you alone, then what about next year? And the next? You could be the perpetual chair. And you really can’t do that. Without others willing to share the load, the organization itself is in big, big trouble. If you won’t get help for yourself, get it for the survival of the organization.

  60. Gosh I love reading your blog. I remember when I found it, about 10 years back, I went and read back all the ones I had missed. It was extremely entertaining, but of course you always are. I am sorry 2018 sucked for you. It wasn’t great for a lot of us. But you kept going and here we are. Let us hope 2019 makes us all grateful it’s here as we go along. Much love to you Steph. Oh I am donating, you betcha!

  61. I started reading your blog as a knitting newbie. Finding out that seasoned pros also made mistakes in knitting was reassuring (and entertaining!) 11 years later I’m more of a pro than a newbie and making the same mistakes you did, so this feels like progress!
    Thank you for letting us into your life and for your advice over the years. I wish I could return the favour and say the perfect words to get you through what is obviously a tough time, but all I can say is that I am part of the blogosphere and we are here for you.
    Take care of yourself like you take care of everyone else and keep picking the bright yarn!

  62. Happy 15th! I am a fan and have been reading your posts since ’09. Got to take a class with you in the fall of ’13 (and loved it!). I check here often and appreciate the thought filled posts and the knitting of work in progress. This is a shining star in my days. Thank you for sharing yourself with me, the Blog, the world.

  63. Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do in helpimg and supporting others Stephanie, your world-wide blog readers are grateful for having you as a role model. Although we have never met, I feel I know you and your extended family through your posts. I wish you all good health, safe travels and beautiful memories for your respective memory-banks. Happy knitting & God bless. XOXOX

  64. Happy fifteenth blogiversary! Thank you for sharing your adventures, wisdom, and general outlook on life. Through the laughter and tears, there remains a thread of optimism that everything will work out ok. Perhaps not the way we wanted, but it will still be ok. It has been a good reminder for me on many days to be patient and keep trying. Thank you.

  65. Happy blogiversary Stephanie – I love your sense of optimism that everything will work out – go girl! And I was so relieved that you bought more yarn – where would we be without wool. Thinking your idea of sock packs was worth trying, I got as far as one kit and about 10 bundles of yarn – and now that makes 6 WIPs and none of them going anywhere fast!
    Have patience, hang in there and everything will fall in to place soon – thanks for taking us along for the ride – you’re keeping me sane!

  66. Dear Stephanie,

    I can’t begin to tell you how much you and your blog have meant to me. It helped me through loss and grief (my mum, my career, my relationship, my dreams of ever becoming a mum). You encouraged me to stretch my knitting boundaries and I thank you for making me try sock knitting and double points. With those skills I kept myself warm and covered my bald head during chemo for breast cancer. And sane. I knitted and crocheted through all my treatments. Your snow photos gave me something cool to look at during our hot Aussie summers. A snow photo today would have been great. In my town today it got to 46.7 degrees Celsius. And I still had to do my 1.2 kilometre walk between my office and the bus stop.

    So thank you so much you dear lady for the myriad ways in which you have helped me.

    As for your rip tide, well our surf lifesavers here in Australia tell us to swim between the flags (ie. the safe part of the beach) and if you do get caught in a rip, don’t fight it, swim with it, and it will eventually spit you out either on a sandbank or back near the beach. So swim with it and we’ll see you back on the beach.

    Bless you all.

    Ps. Can I request a photo of Elliot in the snow? He’s just the cutest little boy ever – but don’t tell my nephew I said that

  67. I suspect that this blog has meant just as much to us, if not more, as it has to you over the years. I haven’t been reading since the beginning, but when I first discovered it, I went back and read from the beginning. To borrow from Marie Kondo, your blog has sparked a lot of joy in my life. So thank you.

    I know I’m not your mother, but I am a mother, so here is my advice to you: Just breathe. You may not get everything done, and the things you do get done might not be perfect, but you’re one person and you’re human. Give yourself a break once in a while.

  68. Thank YOU for sharing (parts of) yourself and your life with us for so long. I love coming here again and again to hear your witty remarks and feel the love you and your family have for eachother. And to see the gorgeous knitting of course ;-). Love you guys!!!!

  69. Dear Stephanie and Blog Friends.
    Thank you all for your honesty and advice, for being practical, and for being real in a medium that by some is thought to not be real. (silly them!). Thanks Stephanie for taking the lead by writing your Blog. Thanks to Snow for the concept of “a chair and two side tables” (I’ll put that into conversations!) and all others who’ve given suggestions for delegating and/or sharing workloads. Thanks to all who tell me (us) that life can be random and require quick turns sometimes, and patience other times. Thanks to Stephanie and Blog Friends for your bravery of putting hard situations into words … this past fall my husband’s medical tests came back clear of cancer (with the issue being caused by some minor, totally fixable thing) and we sat in the car after leaving the doctor’s office and laughed hysterically and cried too, wondering how we’d been so lucky (in a year when a dear friend had died of cancer leaving his dear family), knowing that something else could come up, and trying to resolve to just keep on until the next thing. Wow, long sentence, long post. Thank you all. Love from Maureen

    • all you can ever do it “keep on until the next thing.” I’m so glad your husband is ok and sorry you lost your friend. we just never know when it’s “time,” so I’m glad you’ve got more of it. here’s to more laughter.

  70. Happy (belated) Blogiversary! You’ve had such a time of extremes the last few years, the profound sadness of such major losses, but the lovely joy of births and weddings. I hope this coming year continues to skew to the joy side.

  71. This makes something that confused me last week make so much more sense. Was organizing my charitable donation receipts for taxes & noticed I had a PWA one from January. Just went back to check the amount & it was $14.
    Happy Blogiversary & thanks for being here!

  72. Happy Blogiversary, Stephanie. I can’t imagine my life without you in it, so I’m glad we give you some feeling of support and comfort. You’re like our sister, so not hearing from you makes us wonder if you’re ok, and hearing from you – even if it’s just a postcard with a short caption – reassures us. You’re actually why I signed up for Instagram. Those little postcards are such a wonderful addition to my day. I love the joy you find – the joy you choose to see and to share. You are amazing, and the world is better because you’re in it. See you in April in Dallas. XOXO

  73. Happy Blogiversary to everyone. I’ve no idea how long since I’ve joined the party but it’s been a while. This is the only blog I read religiously and am so thankful for you sharing your knitting and life (while still respectfully protecting identities that need protecting). You are a role model and an inspiration. Thank you. (And yes, a cohort of co-chairs sounds like the way to go. If this is a referendum, then add my vote.)

  74. I have learned that these painful events (deaths etc.) happen to everyone. When I was younger, I’d think, “Why me?” but now I know that losses and problems happen to EVERYONE. No one escapes.

    Faith and our loved ones can help us endure the challenges (and the suffering), just like we help others who are going through various life events.

    In the meantime, be gentle with yourself. Take time for self- care (sleep, meditation, etc.). Knitting is good medicine!!

  75. I am so glad you are here, 15 years on, dear one. It’s been a ride, eh? pun most DEFINITELY intended. I just shake my head when I see present day photos of the girls, for they shall ever be ‘the girls’ to the blog.
    And the day you revealed you and Joe’s secret-from-the-blog wedding? SO many moments. I raise my glass, ok, my cup of coffee, to 15 more, bare minimum. Love to you.

  76. I don’t comment very often, but this seemed like a good day to say that I’m glad you’re here, that I have been thinking of you all this year as you’ve gone through all of these changes and that I see how hard you’ve tried to do that with grace and on a learning curve (when really, curling up in a fetal ball around many skeins of yarn would also be a very fair response!).

  77. Whenever you mention us, the Blog as a collective, I start to wonder… who are we (apart from knitters), how old are we on average, how numerous are we, how many of us were here that first day, how many arrive brand new each time a post appears? Do blogs have data collection or analysis features? Just stuff I wonder… But regardless, I’m always so happy to be here and part of the mysterious and amorphous Blog.

  78. I have been with you since the beginning. Through your ups and downs as well as my own. I’ve mostly been quiet with a comment here and there, but throughout the 15 years, I have been grateful. Grateful that someone my age was sharing her thoughts and stories about knitting, about life. Thank you!

  79. I have been reading from that first year. You speak to my heart, making me laugh and think and cry and knit, and feel part of a bigger community of knitters who care. Thank you for your stories and your posts, short and lengthy. Thanks to Ken, who helped set all this up. And THANKS for the opportunity to be part of The Blog. (For a brief moment my square feet were famous beside yours, in our Birks. What a treat to have met you on several speaking occasions.) Echoing what others have said, get some co-chairs in place now, so you aren’t (and your successors aren’t) reinventing the wheel next year. Cheers.

  80. ILast year I copied a bit off your anniversary post and pinned it to my fridge. “Turns out 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, ‘Okay then. If someone will bring me a [drink] while I take a bath, I think I can reorient.'” It has gotten me theough this year ( including a very surprise pregnancy, though I’m still in disbelief about that!) and may be my guide for a long time to come.

    I am glad you feel safe continually turning to and sharing with the Blog b/c I can assure you, we often find the same safety and comfort.

  81. I just wrote a soppy postwhich somehow didn’t go through but ….

    Thank YOU. You’ve shared your family with us, though thick and thin. A real honor.

    And you’re shared the best things about knitting:
    the fun, the learning, the triumphs and failures – instead of throwing of shiny things at us. That has been the best. Thank you!

  82. Happy Blogiversary Steph! Thank you so much for bringing such joy into my life, whether it’s through an anecdote, a lovely or clever finished project (that advent calendar is amazing), or your inspired projects. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself!

    And what Janis said. If it doesn’t happen, then delegate (one advantage to being the top dog). =)

  83. Thank you for 15 years. You have been there for us – and we are here for you. As in all good relationships – both parties showing up is what makes it work.

    Would love to see what you knit everyone for Christmas this year – and don’t care if that post is in JUNE! Love you and hang in there – this year HAS to be better.

  84. In my early knitting days I came across your name in a knitting magazine article about blogs. I remember the day I checked your blog you had posted about ice skating on a Toronto river. I’ve been a faithful follower since (not because of the ice skating). Your plain vanilla sock was my first attempt at sock knitting. I have appreciated your political views and support while we Americans suffer through our latest fiasco of “leadership”. I continue to admire your strength and wisdom while working through the bad things that life throws at us. Now, please put on your to-do list -before planning starts for next year’s rally – a re-reading of all of these comments about delegating leadership to someone else! The rally will survive without you. Your family (including us) will not.

  85. Thank you Stephanie. I discovered your books first. Very dangerous to read on public transport. I got odd looks as I snorted my way through parts of them 😀
    Thank you for sharing so much of your life with us. Thank you for showing me that knitting is totally normal (and ut’s the non-knitters who should be looked at strangely).
    I love your posts whenever they appear. My sister and I alert each other with an excited, one-word text of “Harlot!!!!”
    Hang in there. Ask for help. Let people know when it’s too much. Survival is ok, but living is better xo

  86. Stephanie, I don’t believe I’ve commented before. I stumbled across your blog in the last year, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I’m reading my way back through the archives and am now at Feb 2005 – very anxious about what I’m going to do when it runs out. You have inspired me to take up knitting socks again (I think my first pair was in 1975), and I can’t seem to stop – I’m on my 13th pair since June, not counting baby socks. This in itself has – to quote MK – sparked quite a lot of joy. As the new mother-in-law of a Canadian (I’m in Australia) I’ve read your accounts of Toronto weather with a mixture of astonishment and terror. But perhaps above all I’m enjoyed your wisdom and humour about life in between knitting. I hope things pick up for you, and any time you draw breath enough to post, we’ll all be pleased to read it (no matter how long the gap).
    Happy 15 years, and may 2019 be less exciting.

    • I had never knit a sock before finding the Yarn Harlot blog – and now I always have a sock on the needles along with other projects! Stephanie is an inspiration and started me on a road to really embracing knitting – and it’s been a blast. And she is FUNNY!

  87. Thank You…. I found your blog during tough times and because of you, your books, and your down to earth approach to life, love and knitting, I discovered that I wanted to knit – first time in about 25 years. Now I cant stop, the stash is growing and the projects many.
    Thank You and your family for ‘sharing’ all of life’s ups and downs, life’s normal path – births, deaths, weddings, trips, broken bones, and all – it just goes to show that we are really all ‘normal’ – because there is no normal….our individual path is just one adventure and where it goes – no-one really knows – just get on and experience the journey.
    Thank You for your dedication to the Ride…. I have donated a few times just – well just because I believe in people trying to make a difference – and Lady – you sure make a difference to this fundraising issue. And I am sure that you get amazing goosebumps every time you complete the adventure….you keep swimming and we will breathe the oxygen into the water for you.
    Thank You for showing us that two people can lead very busy lives that create separation at times and still remain committed, loving, and joyful with each other – a true gift.
    Finally….. Happy Blog Anniversary – 15 years of life, love, laughs, tears and more. What an amazing historic legacy this blog is…..its like a photo book, diary and home movies all rolled into one.
    Hugs and spare floaties if you need them from down under….

  88. I didn’t comment yesterday because I was trying to figure out how to squish all the feelings into mere words.

    Your blog has changed my life. I have tried hard to be kinder, to be more generous, to be more aware of how what I say is heard by those I’m talking to, to be a better person because I want to live up to who you are and who you present knitters to the world as being like.

    Happy Blogiversary, Stephanie, and I am so grateful you do all you do and that you’ve done it all this time. And for all the laughter! As I sit here remembering the ice skating and white acrylic yarn story from way back in the day…

  89. What Janis said in the first reply, or a couple of 2nd-in-commands! Grab someone by the scruff of the nectk and say, “YOU are now a co-team captain.” Explain to them what Thomas Alva Edison said, or something like it, “ most people overlook opportunity because it’s dressed in work clothes and looks like work.” Explain what this will do for their resume, unless s/he is a self-employed writer. Heh heh.

    Thanks for your blog. I am always uplifted by it!

  90. Wow. Have never run the “sparks joy” through the yarn zone. VKL NYC about to happen here. This could be a problem…

    Thanks for putting it all out there for so long..as a long time reader it has been a great privilege to share this journey that you choose to release to the world.

  91. I understand what it feels like to have the carpet pulled out from under you, and while you’re free falling, someone snags your shoes, too….
    Of course, if Chairing the Ride as a solo-act brings a sense of “safety zone”, then of course, do it. It feels a bit disconcerting, though, to not have the “normal” process even with the Ride…. it’s all transforming into something else, so long as the getting there doesn’t do us in.
    Hang tight.
    Keep breathing.
    (keep knitting!!)
    And for the love of all that’s good in this world, keep us in the loop!! We love you right back.

  92. Your blog helped me through a bad time a decade ago. I read the whole thing – all I could do was stare at a screen and knit a little. Thank you for writing. Good wishes to you and your lovely family.

  93. Happy Blogiversary! Thank you for giving us a place to congregate for the last fifteen years. Thank you for helping us celebrate the maddening, fulfilling hobby (way of life?) we’ve chosen to pursue. And thank you for taking us along as your family has grown and changed. We’ve laughed with you and cried with you. And while you’re so overwhelmed, we’ll just knit a few more rows while we wait for the next update. In the meantime, m’dear, as the sole chair for this year’s bike ride, I have one word for you DELEGATE. At home, for yarn retreats, for the bike ride. Beg, bribe, or coerce as much help as you can get. And never be further from your knitting than fifteen feet. That way no one gets hurt… Sending supportive HUGS your way.

  94. I can say, with the deepest of sincerity, that it’s been a pleasure. Your blog got me through some tough times (I started about 9 years ago and read the back catalogue while being awake all night feeding a newborn. I’m pretty sure your blog is the only only reason I didn’t fall asleep and drop her, so she thanks you too) and if, by just being here for you I can make the smallest difference to your tough times, I’m grateful for the opportunity. Of course, I wish I were closer and could drop off casseroles.

    I also second the general feeling of ‘get help’. Nothing in nature blooms all year, and you’re an amazing and resilient person, who maybe isn’t at her absolute best right now. Sending good thoughts!

  95. Steph, I don’t remember when I wasn’t reading this blog! I know it’s been long enough that every time I see a picture of the girls I think “how ever did they get this old?”. We appreciate you, too, and of course we are here when you decide to post — whenever that may be. Technically we met, once, at Sock Summit, for about 1 minute. So see! We are friends! 🙂 And friends take care of each other. Keep swimming, and please thank Ken who I think of as Saint Ken The Blog Father.

  96. I haven’t been here for all 15 years, but I remember recently seeing a picture of Hank and thinking, wasn’t he just a wee one about a minute ago? Thank you for your blog. I feel like we’re in a similar place in our lives. With age comes increasing responsibility. I’m not sure I’m up to it. I know you are (perhaps you wish you weren’t?). About Kondo: I always thought it was a load of $#%! but it led to more yarn, perhaps there’s something there after all?

  97. Thank you for saying it so much better than I could.
    Thank you for inspiring me to knit socks.
    Thank you for giving me something that helps me through the hardest times.

  98. You. Are. Amazing.

    But yes, DO “go for a pair of side-tables” for the Rally planning – we all need you!

    Buying more yarn (in response to Marie Kondo)? LOVE THIS!

    And, I offer this as further ‘fodder’ to your “knitting as therapy” talk: https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/first-world-war-soldiers-altar-cloth-embroidery-1.4895370?fbclid=IwAR3_qGU1LAWswlSBYHkQcb4RBfyAq8_GHc3eMs2GJTs4PqCkaOdSCjeeXjs because I just read it, shed several tears, and immediately thought of you. [It’s not knitting…but, it “fits” the theme!]

  99. Thank you for the years, Stephanie! I know it has been trying this last one for you, but I so appreciate every bit of your time you devote to us. You are a sunflower in this world, beyond measure.

  100. Solo Chair, yikes! Hang in there!
    Have you been asked to stick around for a third year to bring in the new chair?
    Please don’t ever feel you don’t give enough to the blog, when you are away, we know you are busy with things that need you attention and we appreciate when you return.

  101. Thanks for all your posts. The last few years have been tough for me too and your blog has bought real comfort. Glad the blog gives you comfort back. Sending warmth and wishes.

    Ps a bit ironic i have to choose the chair to prove I’m not a robot!

  102. I am skipping over the comments for now because your Blogaversary post has already made me cry.

    You have built an online community of caring individuals. I am quite sure that if we (the Blog) met in person, we would discover that you have pushed each of us to develop a little more of our “better” selves.

    Laughter, tears, and a lot of years, thanks, Stephanie for aiding our growth and sharing the foibles that make us human, humble and united.

    Love you…and the Blog…so much,

  103. Hi Steph,

    I rarely post a comment — you have so many fans and I figure, not that much time — but this post touched my heart. SO lovely to say I’ve been following you for the better part of those 15 years. Looking back at my own almost 16 years worth of blog posts, there’s a mention of you on one of those posts in July 2006.

    My husband died less than two weeks later and I ended up with much the same sort of year (my DD’s husband left her and my MIL died. All within the last 1/2 of that year. My mother had died 2 years earlier, as had my godmother.) So…I understand…and keep you in my thoughts and prayers, with special thanksgiving for the work of your hands and all things woolly.

    As for the Bike Rally…I hope you find yourself able to delegate something — anything — so you’re not doing it all on your own. Every in-charge person needs an assistant, at the very least!

    Blessings…for more knits, more rallies…and sweeter memories to sustain you this year.

  104. I’ve donated to the Bike Rally. And to MSF/DWB. I hope you find someone(s) to help chair the Bike Rally.
    I don’t know what to say, other than THANK YOU! For all you’ve done for knitting, for the lives of the knitters and other people you’ve touched and influenced and bettered over these years. For adding to our vocabulary – remember “Kinnear” becoming a verb?

  105. Happy blogversary, and post when and how you need to. Take the time for yourself no matter thw schedule seems to “allow” for that. Don’t worry about us; we don’t seem to be going anywhere. 😉

  106. Dearest Steph,

    First up: happy blogaversary. I have had a bumpy few years, and knitting has been my solace. Thank you for making me feel Not Crazy for yarn shopping as therapy; for helping me see that it’s totally ok to build oneself a knitting nest to retreat into; and overall for just being a comfort and an inspiration.

    Second up: to echo what so many others have said, please consider getting more people to help with the rally. I know what it’s like in non profits where there’s never any money and nobody has any time and you always find yourself trying to do something ridiculous, like cool down a forty degree Celsius server room at six am on a bank holiday Monday using desk fans before the finance boxes overheat and crap out… (true story, don’t ask) but you’re only human, and you’ve taken one hell of a freaking beating, and you know what? Your health, physical and mental, matters. Working yourself into exhaustion in the name of any good cause just isn’t worth it. You’ll be more effective as a leader if you’re ok.

    Third: all that said, we will of course support you, whatever you end up doing.

    Fourth: did I say thank you?

  107. Dear Steph while we may have helped you surely you know that you have helped us. You’ve given us laughter (heck, you’ve made me snort my coffee or tea more than once), you’ve shared and made us feel “normal” for feeling the same. You’ve been a constant through some totally crazy (and not good crazy) times. Come back whenever you can. We’ll be waiting.

  108. I have missed your posts! I wondered if this was the beginning of the end of the blog and you were going to move to just social media like Twitter and Instagram. (That Instagram post on diversity in the knitting community was totally a blog post). So, I agree with Rams and vote for more posts even if they’re short and/or imperfect! Happy Blogversary!! May there be MANY more years! PS: Can’t wait for Madrona!

  109. I am very grateful for you and your words, Steph. I ‘found’ you at a time when I was a stay-at-home Mum with a baby and a toddler and was in a very isolated situation. I was surrounded by people, but so lonely, due to the superficial facades being projected by so many that I met – “Our life is perfect…look at how glamorous it all is with us”. Your words helped nurture my desire for authentic and honest friendships and conversations and I have appreciated them so much over the years. These days I am back at work and in a leadership role and one thing that I am huge on is to avoid a culture of “only perfect will do”. It creates so much anxiety and dishonesty. You have been one of the people who have taught me in that area and I am so grateful.
    Also, you have totally enabled my knitting obsession, and I am ridiculously grateful in that department too. My husband has slight reservations (the stash is a little rough on the storage needs here) 🙂
    Thanks so much for all that you are and do. You’re a great, kind, honest soul. Many blessings to you, Steph.

  110. Steph, you and your blog have been there for us (me) for such a long time. You share things we all feel and go though and some how that magic connects us. Your humanness, not your perfection is what connects us.

    I have been knitting since I was 6 and I am now 67..not a clue how that happened. I knitted my first sock because you made it look so easy on the blog and in your book.

    We love you and your family even if we have never seen each other.

    Thank you for another year..hugs

  111. Hi Stephanie! I think this year the Universe is going to cooperate. The poles will stop shifting and things will find their rhythm again.
    Thanks for the Kondo chuckle!

  112. Happy Fifteen! While I originally joined you here for the knitting and spinning, it is your willingness to share the ups and downs of life with us that keeps me coming back. Especially in these times, with so much of what we see of other’s lives coming at us in shiny Instagram wrapped packages, it means a lot read your honest posts about the hard days (and hard years). I’m having trouble keeping my head above water these days too and while that means my heart breaks for you because I know how that exhaustion feels, it also helps to know that amazing strong women like you sometimes struggle with this too, AND get through it. Thank you for all you have given to so many. Donation forthcoming.

  113. Dear Stephanie,

    Going with the swimming analogy, the number one rule of lifeguarding is to not drown yourself.Please take good care of yourself! I have read every single blog entry and have been following you for 14 out of the 15 blog years,the same number of years I have been knitting. I love to knit. I didn’t learn to knit from you but what I did learn from you is that the best kind of knitting is done as an expression of love. Your love for your family, the blog and the rest of the world comes through every time. I have so enjoyed your blog over the years and I look forward to, I hope, many more to come.

  114. So very glad to see you are posting to us again. We are with you in spirit, even when you can’t reach out to us! Busy is good but as so many have pointed out, you need a second. Maybe even a few hours (sorry, and pun) Looking forward to seeing your posts rooting for you as always. Donation tomorrow.

  115. We got you – even all the way down here in Oz … and sometimes this blog is something for the rest of us to hang on to … so you got us as well … even those of us who just keeping buying patterns and yarn and really just don’t knit or crochet but just have ambitions 🙂 …

  116. Congrats on 15 years! I have enjoyed your writing here and in your books for many years. So many times your blog post has made me laugh when I needed to! Thanks.
    That said, you need to put your foot down about getting TWO co chairs now. This isn’t just about you sacrificing too much of your time, (which translates to health problems especially for those of us forty and older) but making that organization stronger. As women we are taught to give and give and give but that is not only too stressful, it lets others slack a bit more than they should. Speak up firmly, like you are talking to teens!
    Don’t ask nicely, ask like you mean it.

    • Yes, Steph. You will be surprised when you put the word out.
      “Universally famous knitter and blogger demands assistant (with a bike and a sense of humor) for Bike Relay. No whiners.” Take that sign to Madrona.

  117. Happy Fifteenth Blogiversary! It has been fantastic.I first started reading you before when it was on the List Serve (I forget the exact name). I never had the chance to meet you but maybe someday our paths will cross. You always feel like a friend and it is very nice. I really hope that someone will step up and help you with the Rally – it is really necessary to have that bridge for this year and next year, especially after the rough year you had. Wishing you all the best!

  118. My mother has been gone since 2007. I miss her every day. From your blog, I have believe you had a wonderful mother and a wonderful relationship with your mother. It will always hurt, sometimes more than others. But there will be moments when a memory makes you smile and laugh. Hold fast to the memories. They are a comfort.

  119. Hmmm. “like my prediction system is broken”. The only prediction system I know of that is NOT broken, is the one that says “well, that wasn’t what I expected”.

    Because in my now 60 years on this planet (yup, birthday was Friday – how the holy heck did that happen!) – I’ve never encountered a better one. And I’m pretty sure that if someone tells you otherwise, you should check their nether regions for smoke and flames!

    Thank you for being there with us so often – we really are just returning the love and care you give us.

    Write when you can, we are always fascinated with what you present to us.
    Chris S in Canada

    • I’m right there with you Chris S. How did I get here??? Mom asked ‘how did you get so old’ and I said I didn’t die. One foot in front of the other. I feel as though I didn’t accomplish anything.

  120. Happy Blogiversary and thank you for these many years.
    ‘Might want to make sure you are actually ‘outgoing’ and not ‘onstaying’…

  121. I donated. Thanks for the little push. If you can do so much with your team, so can I with my little donation.
    Lots of smalls equals a big.

    If you need the moral support and little words of encouragement, you know we’ve got your back!

  122. Blogiversary again?!? That means it’s time once more for giving away your Knitting Rules on my blog. Which means I will have to explain yet again to my readers how a book that is ostensibly about knitting can change one’s life…

  123. Hi Stephanie. I’ve been following your blog since just a few months after you started it. I rarely comment, and haven’t at all in years, but I wanted to say thank you so much for sharing yourself here with us. I’ve “watched” as your girls (and Hank) grew up, as there have been additions to your family, and losses too. You don’t know me, and I don’t really know you, but thank you for sharing over that last 15 years anyway, I’ve been privileged to be one increment of the Blog. I wish you and yours so much luck and love, and that’s just because you took the time and courage to write. Off to donate to PWA, many hugs.

  124. You have more than entertained me $15 worth, but that’s what I was able to donate without double checking my finances. Thank you so much for all of the encouragement in terms of trying new skills, improving the knitting and in general just being a better person. Thank you.

  125. I started reading your blog in high school when I learned to knit. Now I’m a grown woman with six kids myself (and a few cable sweaters) and you have remained one of my favorite teachers over these years. You taught me to knit, to handle stress, and to embrace my own personality quirks even if others don’t. Thank you for writing.

  126. Happy Blogiversary Stephanie! I have loved reading over the years and have gone back to the beginning and started over a couple of times. As it happens I won some lovely orange sock yarn as a result of donating to the rally a few years ago and recently thought of you when I finally finished my socks. I did them toe up without the heel, went back to add the heel, wound up with a heel up on my calf, took that back out and grafted the hole together, started a new heel and finally got it right. I tell ya, not a minute too soon; I was about to pitch the whole lot in the garbage from sheer frustration at my Dumb-nocity! I have enjoyed every minute, every book, every pattern and can’t thank you enough.

  127. Thank you Stephanie. As others have written, I have received much joy from reading your blog. I’ve missed you while you’ve been away, and always glad you post when you do. You are magical to me.

  128. This is how I’ve been feeling lately (my “year” still follows the school calendar). It started out great but then December hit and it’s just been bam-bam-bam. I want to look for an upswing, but I can’t while my dad is in palliative care 🙁 and who knows what the bam-bam-bam will be after that cause I just can’t imagine anything more after these few months.

  129. Happy Blogiversary you sweet woman you! You’ve brought so much joy to my life (and confusion to my co-workers when I try to explain why I’m laughing my ass off at my computer during lunch time) ((I view that as a bonus really)). Thank you so much!

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