Less like a slog

Yesterday was dreadful. I was a misery case for much of the day – no need to go into any details, I’m pretty sure we’d all have no trouble thinking up a few good reasons to feel crappy at present, if you wanted to sit down and make a list. I did all the right things, went for a walk and a run and got some sunshine on my face, and I made a nice dinner and I knit myself silly, and took lots of deep breaths, remembering that for better or worse, all states are temporary. I got a good night’s sleep and this morning I feel more like myself – more hopeful, more optimistic and with a clearer ability to see that it’s all not as bad as it could be, and the up side of being capable of not much more than knitting yesterday?

I’m almost done the sleeves of Ken’s sweater. I’ve got about 14cm to go on one of them, and only maybe about 5cm on the other, and then I’ll start the shaping and they’re as good as done. Yesterday I was convinced that Ken had long and stupid arms, but today his arm length seems completely reasonable.  I don’t know if it’s because my mood is better today or that I’m just so close to done, but I’ve almost entirely stopped mumbling about him being built like an orangutan. (He’s not. I think I was just crabby.)

(Someone always asks what the strands of yarn are, weaving in and out of my knitting – they’re running markers, how I keep track of rows or compound instructions. I flip a piece of yarn back and forth between my needles every so many rounds and it counts where I’m at for me. I’ll show you sometime, but it’s how I make sure things that come in twos are the same.)

Moreover, it rained on the weekend and so all four of those little skeins are finished, and now I’ve just got to figure out what they want to be. There were lots of good suggestions on instagram yesterday, and I think they want to be mittens. Which mittens? Too soon to tell, since nothing is singing my name too loudly at the moment, but maybe I’m just not listening. If you’re in the suggestion business, each of those little skeins is about 75m (for a grand total of about 300m, if you don’t feel like adding) and the yarn is rustic and sturdy, so I think the mittens should be too. Maybe something like the ones from Saltwater Mittens? Rigged for four colours? Who knows. It will come to me, I hope.

In the meantime, that sweater is going down. This is no time for grey, but it’s definitely a good time for the joy of a finished thing, and an even better time to put a friend in a new sweater. There’s still plenty of chilly left in Canada.

72 thoughts on “Less like a slog

  1. You more than most at the moment have every right to be crabby and yet here you are, still doing for others. Its an admirable distraction.
    On the knitting front, I can never quite believe that what seems so little yarn can make what seems like such a large item of clothing?? Its a mystery to me.

  2. Great job on the sweater!! I’m sorry yesterday was so hard. And glad that you were better today…sleep is a great resetter.

  3. Spilly Jane is always inspirational! As are you. My next pair is sleeves are knit flat but they’re getting two atta timed. It’s the second Cassidy, in the exact same color, and I’m completely over them.

  4. I’m crabby today because of a medical test that has left my throat feeling like sandpaper. When i woke from anesthesia, I learned that my 90 year old mum has been quarantined again for 14 days because someone in her retirement home tested positive for COVID (her test came back negative). Crabby days come and go, but you, Stephanie always lift my spirits. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I pray better days are coming for us all!

    • If I could give you a good, hard hug, I would. I am so sorry. Love to you and your mum, we’re going to get through this, and we’re going to hug again.

  5. Have you ever thought about the E.L.F. Hat? You’d need some yarn from your stash… The “Dobby Hat,” as I like to call it, is a lot of fun to knit, and was very well received.
    Peace to your family.

  6. Ooh! I like mug-up and signal hill. Mummers is lovely but can’t quite picture it rigged for four colours. Perhaps you can?

    Sorry you had a carpy day yesterday and glad today is better. I think everyone is entitled to a day like that now and then. Things will get better, eventually.

    I have 6 rows to go on a shawl using some gorgeous Wellington Fibres 2-ply 60/40 mohair/wool in Chestnut. A deal at value village last December. 5 skeins for $32. Woo hoo. The way spring is going I’ll be able to wear it for a while before putting it away for fall.

    Happy knitting
    Chris S in Canada

    Touch the light bulb. That means great ideas are at hand!

  7. Hi Stephanie… I have a question.. If you are knitting sleeves two at a time, why are you doing them separately on different sets of circulars? I do my sleeves two at a time but on two circulars like the way I knit socks .. doesn’t picking up and putting down different sets of DPs waste time? I am sure it is personal preference and Im not being critical, just wondering…. or am I missing some magical technique I don’t know about….

    • If you look closely, you’ll see that she isn’t using circulars, she’s using double pointed needles.

    • But you ARE right, she’s knitting one for a while, putting it down, then picking up the other one. It’s just a way of making sure they are close to each other in production stage so you don’t have to go back and restart from the absolute beginning for the 2nd sleeve–effectively making two identical projects at the same time, bouncing back and forth. Rationale?? See the previous post!!! =)

      • I use 2 sets of DPNs for sock knitting as well. I alternate between the two sets at the major breaks (cuff, heel, toes). I tried magic loop, but just am so much more comfortable and faster knitting with DPNs.

        • Me, too. I’ve tried Magic Loop and 2 circular needles but dpns are more comfortable for my smallish hands for socks and mittens. My sister, who started knitting after turning 65, loves Magic Loop and can’t bear dpns.

          • I used to use two circulars for socks but have discovered the 9” circular. Game changer!

  8. Brava, Steph, for a good nights sleep and recognizing crabby for what it is. I’m finding it myself and until I recognized it, I thought something was just really wrong. Congratulations for battling up the arms and having this sweater nearly done. You are a light to us!

  9. Some days are definitely hard, it’s important to remember they will not last.
    Those will be some pretty mittens. How about your pattern Cloisonee? But pattern over the entire mitten?

  10. I perfectly understand your feelings. i’m having trouble finding any enthusiasm for anything lately. It did help today talking with my neighbours, and catching an errant puppy this morning for his dad made me smile. Even knitting sometimes seems unappealing. Weird! So I stopped working on the dk garter stitch project which is so calming it’s a good go-to when feeling stressed, and began to knit the felted sushi wallet I scored on etsy. 🙂 Keep on keeping on, Stephanie. It’s about all we can do.

  11. Feeling your pain on the sweater. I’m also knitting sleeves on a gray sweater for my son’s upcoming birthday (We will ignore the fact that it was originally intended to be a Christmas gift). It also appears that he may have grown some while away at his first year of college. Blocking will take care of that, right?

    • “Blocking will take care of that” – a laugh line worthy of Stephanie herself! Thanks for the giggle.

  12. I spent some of my work time out on my porch. The daffodils and myrtle were blooming and I saw the first hummingbird of the year hovering around some kind of pink flower in our garden. It was a perfect little moment.

  13. Have you ever noticed slight tufts of orange hair on Ken? Or does he occasionally go by the nickname, Pongo? Just wondering.

  14. My solution for the crappy quarantine blues is to cast on something new….we won’t mention that I now have a dozen WIPs. . Maybe one will get finished once we’re well and truly back to “normal”.

  15. I feel sorry – quite specifically – for Ken’s arms, lengthening and shortening at the mercy of your mood. 🙂

  16. Maybe a Latvian braid could be involved?

    They would need a bit of math to adjust gauge, perhaps, but Kirsten Kapur’s Kanagawa mittens might be just the ticket.

  17. Oh, that yarn definitely needs to be mittens! Some of those are already 4 colors, but I think many of them could be adapted. And I’m glad today was a better day. For me, working from home is so draining. I find myself yearning for the weekend- but then it’s not much different than the week, because I’m still at home. And I usually like being at home! I also really want to be back at work, but am at the same time terrified by the idea. Such a confusing time. I’m coping, sort of, by knitting a lot of little projects, so I definitely see progress. I’m glad you’re almost through the sleeves – sleeves are so difficult in the best of times!

  18. Did Joe switch decaf for your regular coffee yesterday? Maybe he needs to do that whenever you’re grumbling about Sleeve Island!

    Ken’s sweater looks great so far! If a mitten pattern doesn’t start calling your name, perhaps you should use your newly-spun yarn for a cover for a sofa pillow. You said it picks up the colors from some pillows you already have, so it should work.

  19. Those colours look lovely. My favourite pattern for mittens/gloves is Sebastian by Kristin Nicholas. They are already for multiple colurs. Interesting to see what you will make with the yarn 🙂

  20. My absolute favourite weather is gloom. For me, sunshine and colours often feel over-bright and too busy. Today it’s pouring with rain and blowing a gale where I am. It’s rarely like this and I’m trying to soak it in while it lasts 🙂 (Ok maybe not literally!) I have to be inside today to work but I keep trying to open all my doors so I can be inside while feeling like I’m part of the weather. The rain keeps coming in though and it will ruin my floors. So doors shut it is 🙁

    Grey reminds me of the rain, which always feels renewing to me. Grey is the feeling of a cold breeze on my face when I’m rugged up and warm. Grey is calm, and it’s uncomplicated. Even when everything is crappy. Especially when everything is crappy.

    Anyway, all of this is not to say that you should suddenly love gloom and grey just because I do. Goodness knows I’m not about to start loving sunshine just because everyone else does. We’re all different and that’s a good thing…
    But lean in to the grey, channel your inner me, and it’ll be over before you know it 🙂

  21. It’s not just Canada — despite the fact that it was warm enough for shorts over the weekend, they’re calling for snow here tomorrow! I’m sure Ken will fully appreciate those long sleeves and a new sweater to keep him warm.

  22. Those mittens are all so beautiful, I made a much too loud exclamation of awe at them. I need that book! I immediately assumed you would be making Cloisoneé mittens when I saw the wool, but I would love to see any of the Saltwater patterns in those colors.

  23. I am sorry. I hope today is a little better. I am a stranger to you but I do think of your family often

  24. My mom always said “everything has a beginning, a middle and as end”. This will eventually end too. The hard part is when you are in the middle, knowing when the end will be. Through every difficult time when I look back it doesn’t seem as bad as it felt in the middle. Glad today is a better day!

  25. I totally get the “crabby”. I can be perfectly fine for most of the day, and then some little thing (usually something I hear on the radio, or tv), puts me in the depth of despair. I know this is temporary, but “temporary” is subjective. There are times when my brain translates “temporary” into 587 years… I remind myself that there are some things that I like about working from home: wearing yoga pants all the time, and no commute means there is time to spin before work. I just finished plying 7 skeins of yarn! Woo Hoo!

  26. This morning I went merrily out the door in just a sweater (and pants) to do a bit of garden prep. I stopped in shock, turned around and went back in to get my winter jacket, gloves and hat. It was minus 5 Celsius here in Haliburton. However, the sun is shining beautifully now so all is well. Lovely sleeves. Ken is so lucky to have you as a friend. Will he model the sweater when it’s finished?

  27. mittens: stained glass
    Ken: not weird arms. We have seen photos, and the man is 5-star good-looking.
    sleeves: That is going to be one YUMMY sweater.
    YOU: allowed to have a grouchy day, yes you are.

  28. One of the best things about the world having turned upside down, is very frequent Yarn Harlot posts! I re-read all your books earlier in the crisis, and enjoyed them ever so much. I’m sure there are ways to make your blog pay, which would be perfect while your other job is on hiatus. We, your adoring fans, would also be most grateful for another book like “Knitting Rules” with patterns and instructions. I still get your book out every time I have to graft a toe.

  29. I’m looking at the yarn and looking at the chair upholstery and looking at the yarn and looking at the chair and …. I know throws and pillow covers aren’t your thing but … that’s a nice match.

  30. Gee, Steph, though when you said they matched the couch that they were destined to be accent pillows! Boy did you surprise me… mittens. I never!
    Well I can’t wait to see them. Knit on!
    TA

  31. Everybody’s going through this, which doesn’t make anything better but at least you know you’ve got company no matter what stage of “dealing with it” you’re in.

    About fifteen minutes ago I hit my limit of what I can bear to know for a while, so I came over here to see what you were knitting. I think I’ll pick up my second sock and do some stitchin’.

  32. Thank you for posting frequently, Stephanie. Now more than ever we need your cheery, interesting knitting thoughts. I look in daily to re-read old posts and comments. It’s like having a worldwide family.

  33. I’m glad your days got better. It’s a rollercoaster at the best of times, and now everything’s gone off the track. Keep breathing.

    also: Running Markers??!?!? Brilliant!!!

    xxoo, Jenn

  34. Personally, I think the photo of your skeins answers your question: weave them into a scarf, if you have enough. I mean, just look at your chair! Woven in those colors-how beautiful would that be? Just a thought.

  35. I find that after a loss or another big shock, it’s like you have no resistance for a while to the usual run of day-to-day bs that the universe hands out and the next wee thing can knock you flat and leave you crying in the tub because you have a hangnail and someone didn’t answer an email (instantly) so clearly no one loves you and everything sucks and ….
    Straws vs camels’ backs and all that.

    The cumulative effect of little bits of your ‘doing all the right things,’ often helps. I’m glad you survived your crappy day. (You didn’t mention chocolate, but keep that in your repertoire for next time.) Thank you for the reminder that little things add up, in both directions.
    And for a look at that beautiful yarn.

  36. I count rows the same way and use the same method to keep track of matched/paired increases or decreases, for example, on sweater sleeves. One string works for both kinds of counting, btw. I love the way the “ladders” (rungs really) between the stitches DO NOT TELL LIES. : ) I keep bits of non-shedding yarn in my bag for this purpose.

  37. I so like the colors, however can’t imagine knitting that type of complicated beautiful mitten. Can’t wait to see yours.

    And, running markers – that gives me so much hope. I can stop wondering about my counting (and getting different numbers every time) and moved markers (or not) etc.,

  38. Well, it snowed here in Ottawa today, so a new sweater sounds like a grand idea. A finished thing, especially one that is large, and grey, sounds to me like a triumph!

    Glad you’re feeling more like yourself 🙂

  39. Good Lord! I’d be catatonic were I you – or at least overly obsessed with my kid’s dealing with stuff. Feel what you feel, friend, it’s OK. (((virtual)))

  40. Just signed up! This is so exciting! I’ve wanted to take one of your classes for a while now. Looking forward to learning some new things.

  41. Running markers!! Genius!! I hope I remember this for the next sweater I knit, I definitely could have used it when knitting the sleeves on my first-ever sweater this spring!

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