I did tidy a closet

There is a lot I don’t understand about this pandemic, but what is wrong with how time passes right now is clear up at the top of my list. I have no idea how so much time can be whipping by me when the days seem so long, or how I can be at home so much and still not get anything done.  Admittedly, I’ve been working very hard on the Patreon and on a few other work things – and that takes up loads of time. I’m determined to make the Patreon a ridiculously good value, and so far I think I’m succeeding. It’s still a little harder than it should be, meaning that because I’m learning everything takes ten times longer than I hope it will once I’m a pro. (This week, due to an error that was incredibly instructive, I managed to lose an entire video during editing and had to start over. It takes real time and commitment to make that kind of high quality error.) It’s a lot of time at my desk, but I’m so grateful to be able to keep the wolves from the door that I’m cool with it, and I’m sure I’ll get better.

I’ve been a very busy grandmother – Elliot is here a lot, and I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what a busy three year old does to your available time.  When he is we spend our time doing very important things like visiting our ducks (they do not know that they are our ducks)

and wandering through the “deep deep woods” or digging holes at the beach – and this marks the second week that Elliot has been confident enough to leap from the back of the anchored boat to swim in Lake Ontario. It’s already starting to cool off here and I know things will really change when the winter comes, so who am I to deny him (or me) any of the moments of summer? It’s such a brief time that I am trying to cheerfully abandon anything at all if anyone wants to go outside.

Still, there is no explanation for why I haven’t found my way here more often, though I think of you every day, and then… well. Something happens to my day, though I can’t quite say what it is.  (Secretly, I blame Joe. There is something about a big guy in his underpants hanging out in the house this much that just cramps the hell out of my style, as much as I love him.) I am perpetually staring at the clock in disbelief (it just happened again now. Four? It’s almost four? I swear it was 10am when I went for a ride, and then all I did was make lunch for me and Joe and… four?)

I’ll write again soon (I mean that) but today my laptop is going in for repair. (Finally getting the keyboard fixed, hallelujah – we found someone who can do it without us having to go into a shop, so it’s perfect, except for the part where I have to part with it for a few days.) Meanwhile, I’m just here to show you some socks.  I meant it when I said that the lack of travel has really screwed up my sock production… but a concerted effort on my part has meant that three pairs (actually five but I am waiting to show you two others) have come off the needles in the last bit. First, I finished the Regia Pairfect Rainbow pair –

Off they go into the (currently sparsely populated) long-range-planning-box. (Pattern is the plain vanilla top down sock that I taught on the Patreon.) It is worth noting that I did a spiral toe on these, but they spiral in opposite directions, because I can’t imagine anyone could easily walk straight if their toes were unbalanced.

Another pair- I put these in the long range planning box too, but who am I kidding. They are for me.

Yarn is Ancient Arts “Lichen in my Crevices” I am so fetched with this colourway and yarn combo that I have three more skeins of this one in my stash, all purchased separately. Helpless to resist that one, it turns out.  That same pattern that lives in my head again – with an eye of partridge heel this time.

Finally, a pair for Cameron. That one is (again, my basic pattern) and the yarn’s Must Stash in Vespa.

I am glad that Cam is a knitter so he knows exactly how much work his big feet are and can extrapolate exactly how much I love him.

I know that non-knitters sometimes think it’s funny that I like knitting for other knitters so much. They often think that knitters won’t appreciate them as much because they could just make a pair of socks themselves, but it’s never how it goes.  I give a non-knitter socks and (unless they’ve been to school on the topic) they usually say something like “oh wow, thanks so much, these are beautiful hand knit socks”.  This is adequate, of course, and the best they can do- considering that for all intents and purposes they’re pretty sure they’re holding beautiful hand knit socks.

A knitter though? When I give them a pair of beautiful hand knit socks? They usually say something like “these are beautiful” but then they look at you in a way that says what they’re really thinking, which is “thank you for thinking that I am worth this much of your time it makes me feel loved” which is really what we’re trying to say with knitting, isn’t it?

Back soon – you know. When the laptop is fixed and I’ve seen to the ducks. I have a mini-rally to tell you about.

99 thoughts on “I did tidy a closet

  1. Thanks for stopping by with some amazing socks, and some I-feel-like-that-too life observations. How life be so slow and whiz by so fast all at the same time? Hearing about your busy days is ood for my unmotivated soul.

  2. I have always been in awe of how committed you are to making high quality errors. Somehow it makes me feel better when I make my own errors (of any quality). Thank you. And those are all pretty darn awesome socks.
    Looks like you have more than ducks. That’s pretty awesome too!
    Chris S

  3. I thought for the briefest moment that you were going to whip out the gansey, all finished and modeled by Joe…
    then followed by the announcement of daily blog posts chronicling your mental and physical journey to this auspicious point in the history of knitting.

    Ah, well. One can dream.

  4. Time has been very….odd.

    I’m all for making mistakes as spectacular as one can make the error, without injury to ones self or others. The ego, well, that will recover. Eventually.

  5. Dear Stephanie, you are most definitely making the Patreon a ridiculously excellent value!
    And, FWIW, I think your priorities are properly aligned regarding grandmothering Elliott and enjoying summer together. Those are the memories he’ll need as he grows older.

  6. I totally get your lost sense of time. Here in Victoria, Aus, we are half way through a hard six week lockdown, due to you-know-what. It’s so hard to figure out what day it is, let alone what the time is. You are right, it is exhausting. Thank heavens for tea, knitting and wood fires.

    • And speaking as yet another Victorian, every day is Blursday. I work, I knit, I clean house a tiny bit but every day is eerily like another except that some days it snows.

  7. Can we talk about the heron in the room? Ducks are an inexhaustible supply of child entertainment, and not being able to go to Stratford and feed the ducks and dodge the swans with my grandkids is a BIG Covid loss. But there is a heron standing in that picture. Granted, they’re not rare (I’ve seen them in Central Park,) but they’re a lot rarer than ducks! But I’m in awe of Elliot. Never in my life, I can safely say, will I jump off a boat. Liking to do this is a gift for life. Well done, Grammy. (Oh, nice socks, too.)

    • You beat me to mentioning the heron I love blue herons, so graceful and beautiful. You’re right. Its like taking a picture of a street musician with Paul McCartney standing in the background.

  8. Elliot is sure to learn a lot from those ducks — they have opinions on everything! Maybe he can go swimming with them next summer….

    The socks look great. Hope the laptop feels better soon. (Joe, lose the underpants. Stephanie finds them distracting.)

  9. I totally agree with the fact time is flying and crawling at the same time. Loved this post, knowing you are enjoying your summer and your ducks (is that a bittern in that shot??!!!) with Elliott. Carry on, because with the way time is flying, snow will soon be upon us.

  10. Absolutely nothing is more important than spending time with Elliot. They grow up so fast that it makes my head spin. I had the ineffable pleasure of keeping my grandson (now 7) 1-2 days each week from the time he was 6 weeks old. Once he started school in another town, that has changed and now, with Covid, we only saw him on Zoom until late June. We’ve had him 2 days a week and now he’s going back to virtual school and we’ll miss him so much. Knitting helps me deal with all of this. The socks are wonderful and I love that your knitters are so blessed by you.

    Enjoy the ducks and Elliot all that you can. While staying inside, I discovered that popcorn and apples will make my little boy very happy!

    I’m signed up for all of your Patreon classes but haven’t been able to get online for any of them yet. I’m looking forward to sitting down for a stretch of your wonderful classes. Be blessed, dear Stephanie!

  11. It seems that this is the perfect summer for kids to become very brave at all their activities. My youngest just decided that he could swim and so he does. It boggles my mind.

    As for receiving handknit socks – I burst into tears when my grandmother presented me with a pair. I think I may have overwhelmed her with gratitude.

  12. Well. my DH wears shorts (most of the time) but when hie is home he has to “share” various items while I am at working. I will say we alternate a little on who provides lunch.

    Still, you have a train of thought going, and then he walks through and asks if I had seen this bit of news or worse, what am I planning for dinner or, if I take the hamburger out of the freezer, he will grill tonight (no he won’t because it will still be frozen for close to 24 hours!).

    Enjoy your time with Eliot. He will be off to university..and then you will really see how time has flown.

    • Your comment reminds me of my sister, whose husband is now working at home. They have an actual office built into their house, where he works. But even with the doors closed, he is loud! My sister hides out in the bedroom, where she is trying to write a children’s book. Hubby can’t just use the bathroom in the hallway, he has to come bursting into the bedroom to use the attached bathroom. Some men need lots of hand holding. Or something.

  13. Those socks are amazing. I’d love to see how your lovenote sweater is coming along – the yarn combo looked so pretty.

  14. I have never posted a reply before, but your picture of Elliot and “your” ducks moved me to offer advice. Please, please spend as much time as you can having adventures with him! My grandson is now a 17 year old 6′ tall high school senior. On my birthday card last month he wrote, “I will cherish the memories we have made forever”. So, Stephanie, make lots and lots of memories!

    • I was thinking the same. He will never be this age again. The days seemed so long when my daughter was little. Now I don’t know where the time went.

  15. I just want to tell you how grateful I am for your Patreon! And thank you so much for putting that together. I have already learned so many things to improve my knitting in general and socks in particular!

    Elliott is amazing, which is just right because he is part of the most awe inspiring family I know of. That’s..you, and you’re family.

  16. I have to know – were you able to get two large socks out of one skein of sock yarn? I’m behind on my Patreon socks because once I got to the largest part, they started falling off the needles. So I made a special trip to the store and now I have rubber needle protectors to keep the yarn on the needles (once I pick up all the dropped stitches), but not the energy to start again.

  17. I am also married to a big man in his underwear. Last week my son asked if a friend of his could stay with us for a few days next month. My spouse’s first question was “Will I have to wear pants?”

    Steph, I just wanted to say again that I really enjoyed your class with River City Yarns over the weekend. I have been going somewhat nuts with Zoom fiber arts classes lately. Yours was by far the best. You seemed so comfortable, it was like having you in the room. And I got information I can really use. Looking forward to the next one!

  18. I can’t quite figure out how to interpret my sister’s reaction to the socks I knitted for her… she is extremely enthusiastic (and now that she is starting to knit, probably has an idea what went into them), but she doesn’t want to wear them, she says because they are so pretty she doesn’t want to wear them out. Is that appreciating them a lot, or not enough? I haven’t been able to convince her I can always fix them or make another pair.

    It makes me so happy to think of you and Elliot outside together! I love the time I spend with my granddaughter… unfortunately not outside right now because it’s too smoky from all the fires around us, but we just played a best-of-three series of Candyland and had a great time 🙂

    • Tell her “The proper way to appreciate them IS to put them on and wear them out (which won’t happen as quickly as you think, probably), because then I get to make more!!” It’s actually weird how many pairs of handmade socks can accumulate in your drawer if you don’t get busy wearing them out properly! =)

    • Yeah I made a really fancy pair of socks for my mother for Christmas one year, probably 15 years ago. She struck them in a drawer and they haven’t been seen since. She said the same thing – they are too pretty to wear. I’ve learned just to make socks for myself, because at this point of my life I am not close to anyone who knits. My sister actually rolled her eyes when I talked about my goal of finishing a Shetland shawl with tiny lace yarn. Hmmn I’m glad at least that I belong to a greater knitting tribe.

  19. Am I the only one who thinks your clothespins look kind of like charming bunny ears? Yes, the days go by strangely fast. I get up, do some stuff and suddenly it’s supper time. And lastly, Carmen does have very big feet. I think if I were making socks for feet like that, I might want to do them on my circular sock knitting machine. Carmen looks thrilled with his socks, by the way.

  20. So wonderful to see summer found Canada and you’ve been out on the boat!
    In Alaska, we’ve had 2 weeks of toasty 75℉+ weather spaced 3 months apart by torrential rain. Which did keep wildfires away, allowing our wildfire firefighting teams (over 20 teams just flew out to go help where people are masking because of wildfires.
    Enjoy the last of the season and all your people.
    Should we start a fundraiser to buy Joe some pants?

  21. So much happiness in this post. Thank you. Eliott is a love of a little boy and all those socks convey so much and I didn’t quite know till I saw this how much I needed that today. Thanks!

  22. I think what you’re experiencing with the time warp of days is what we’ve all been experiencing. For me, the days are simultaneously extremely long and very short. I’ve just given up on trying to keep track of what day it is and rely on my phone and computer to keep me on track. So don’t stress too much. You’re doing what you can and focusing on what’s most important right now.

  23. i know what you mean about time this year. Our school year started this week, but I swear the last school year ended only last week. On the other hand, I’m imagining the Christmas letter going something like, “during the year of April…then during the year of May…” because those months felt years long.

  24. Years ago I read that an average pair of handknit socks is made up of something like 20,000 stitches (was that in Knitting Rules, maybe?!?). There was NO WAY that could be true…except that I then did the math for my own ladies 7.5 feet, and yup–20,000 is about right.
    Think about that. That’s a TREMENDOUS number–and suddenly “I love you so much I made you socks” gets very tangible. Throw that little fact into conversation with non-knitters–gives them something to stretch their perspective a bit…

  25. Oh, and hey: Stephanie, maybe put a link to your Patreon sign-up page so people who have missed it on the first round can easily find their way there?? Seriously–you’d be doing us a favour, plus it’s practically free marketing!

  26. Stephanie, thank you for the visit! We’ve been spending a lot more time with our 2 and 5 year old granddaughters recently, although the older one started kindergarten yesterday. They are an absolute joy and they absolutely wear us out! The three pair of socks are so beautiful! I’m still working on my pair from the Patreon class, but they are coming nicely.

  27. I once knit a sweater for my niece who was about 4 or 5 at the time (so she couldn’t read). With it I included a little card with the care instructions on it. When she opened it up she grabbed the sweater, put it on, then stared at the card for a minute. When someone asked her what it said, she looked right at me and announced “It says I love you!” To this day, that is the most satisfying knitted gift I have ever given….because she knew exactly what it said.

  28. I am so very happy to see your lovely knitting and knowing about the ducks whom, of course, all need names. Hope the mini-rally was successful I have not checked the numbers but I hope the ride was full of pings.

  29. Your observation about Joe’s usual attire is so interesting and adds to my own observations about men working from home. I have observed and heard reports of many, many males of the species reverting to pantlessness during the pandemic. It has been very interesting. The one exception to this rule has been male engineers. I am related to and friends with quite a few engineers who are working from home. Without exception, they get up and get fully dressed including shoes every single day. I asked by brother (one of those working from home engineers) about this. He said, ‘Well, I guess engineers just like routine.”

    • I am working at home too on a computer all day long, definitely nerd occupation. I have to admit I get up every week day and get fully dressed, including shoes and socks. It helps me realize that even though I’m at home, I still have to do my job! I’d much rather be knitting on the couch (fifteen feet away.)

  30. I love giving gifts to other knitters, and I love receiving knitted things from other knitters. It’s just as you said, the knitters (and admittedly many of the non-knitters in my life as I am very fortunate) know that what I’ve just given them is really my time and love in a tangible container.

    Also, I know this isn’t the standard, but most of the knitters I know, myself included, hardly ever knit anything for themselves. And knitters who haven’t a stitch of handknitted anything is a sad and sorrowful place.

    On another note, I Love your brightly colored socks. I’m packing up my house right now and can’t touch the little sock I brought with me for emergencies, so seeing other people finishing things helps a little.

  31. Two words: “Alien abduction.” They explain everything. Missing that extra skein you *know* you had? Alien abduction. That great train of thought you just lost? Alien abduction. Those three months you missed somehow? Alien abduction. It explains everything.

  32. I love the socks!! I haven’t been such a big fan of the Regia pairfect line so far, the colours just didn’t appeal to me, but this one? WOW. I love it! Also the “Must stash” socks – the colours are just the best.

    Good luck with the patreon, and I am really glad that Elliot is with you so much! Grandparents time is always the best.

  33. When I knit a pair of socks to fit my toe angles, my husband said, “Left and right socks? That will never fly. I have a hard enough time getting my boots on the right feet!” So, there’s that. I didn’t knit those socks for him.

    • I’m trying to understand but I don’t. Can you tell me what’s wrong with what I’m doing? My family really needs me to earn a living. It’s not money over Fam. it’s money FOR fam.

    • I wonder if you have misunderstood what Stephanie is saying. Making a living is a necessary thing. Enjoying your family is a necessary thing. Balancing the two things is done differently by every person and every family. Choices will be different in every instance and on every day. From where I knit it would appear Stephanie is making choices that work for her. That’s all any of us can do.

  34. I know, where is the time going? How can it be the end of August and I feel like I’ve gotten nothing done? My teenage boy has a girlfriend this summer, but he’s still underfoot every moment, it seems. School will be virtual for him at least through Nov. 9, when they will re-think what they’re doing and assess if they’re going back in person. It’s so weird being in the house so much… I’m getting fat, and playing too much Fortnite, but I did knit my granddaughter a nice frog hat. Glad you’re spending time with Elliot. Love the Patreon videos. Cam is an excellent sock model. Carry on.

  35. Stephanie,
    I have followed your blog for years … ever since one of your dear mother’s friends* recommended it to me in the change room of the Ottawa JCC as a delightful combination of humour and knitting.

    You blog brightens my day and the grace and generosity with which you and your squad approach the trials you face is inspirational and helps so very much as I walk through my own tribulations.

    This is my first time commenting though… just to say thanks for sharing your adventures and your warmth and your articulate reflections on life, as it is. You have no idea how much this means; thank you.

    ~M

    * I don’t know the name of your mother’s friend – I was just so lucky to have shared locker space with her an an ungodly early hour and she overheard me fretting about a sock and the daunting task of starting the second, in between kids’ carpools and piano practice. It was clear in her recommendation that she adored your mum, and thought she had a particularly clever, witty daughter. She was right.

  36. Like you, I’m finding the days flying past. And at the same time I’m accomplishing nothing much. Perhaps it’s enough right now for us all just to keep going, putting a metaphorical one foot in front of another. Every day is Tuesday now, the dreariest day of the work week. Yet the little pleasures keep me going. My 30-year old Hoya has a bloom about to open. There’s a bunny who visits our yard. I’m knitting again, though ordering entirely too much yarn, “in case”.
    First, be kind to yourself; then everyone else!

  37. I fully understand about how we can spend so much time at home in this pandemic and get so little done. I feel like someone put time and the days of the week into a blender and turned it on “puree”– I have no idea most of the time what day of the week it is.
    Recently I made one of those colossal mistakes and ended up pulling out an ENTIRE nearly-finished sweater- and me the “Queen of Knit a Swatch.” It’ll be better next time.

  38. Enjoy the good weather and Elliott! The weather changes and kids grow up (my oldest will soon be 21!), and memories are precious.

    We had two months of rain, then two heat waves, and now the weather is perfect for going out–but I can’t. Our savings were used up in the first few months of the pandemic, and the economy being what it is, I decided to start my own business from home rather than trying to find several part time jobs to make enough to feed our family. As much as the hubby and kids want to go out and “do”, they say they understand that I need to work (although I think this is purely theoretical knowledge on the part of my family, as they tend to forget that “working” is the operative word in “working from home”). But we’ve just moved into a new house where I have my office in a separate room instead of the dining room (how did that move suck up an entire month???), so things should be smoother sailing *fingers crossed* going forward.

  39. Absolutely love that, Other knitters, and a few non knitters, know how much work goes into all those stitches in a sock and can truly appreciate it.

  40. this blog post from a Perfectionist teacher hits many of the same points that you did. Thought you might enjoy the need to drop the ball sometimes:

    https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/overachiever/

    I do miss your blog posts but it is like a favorite dessert. I know it will be great, it includes a new viewpoint or thought to ponder – makes your postings all the more special when it is available

  41. I am so with you on the time thing. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home, but lately that is coming with back to back meetings from 8am to 7pm. I keep reminding myself that I am SO FORTUNATE that I can still work and that my kids are big enough to look after themselves and that I have the shortest commute to my office EVER.

    It was an incredible shock to realise that September is next week. It seems like March was yesterday.

    As far as socks go – my son, who tells everybody that the only way I could knit more is if I learned how to knit in my sleep, has size 12 feet. I have told him that, if he ever doubts my maternal devotion and love he must remember that I knit him socks. Then, once I have knit him these socks, I watch him walking in the garden wearing these socks and NO SHOES and I womanfully refrain from killing him. I can get a pair from one ball of sock wool, and always have a pair on the go as socks are the best ever portable project as they don’t take up much space and are machine washable. He is also red-green colour blind and LOVES brightly coloured socks so I do not have to battle through acres of boring monochrome.

    As an aside, if anybody offered instructions on knitting in your sleep (I can already knit without looking at my hands so it SHOULD be a quick transition) I would be interested. Imagine doing all the interesting bits while awake and getting the boring bits done while sleeping. Heaven!

    • I can’t help with sleep knitting (yet). My group has a cartoon of hands extended through the shower curtain busily knitting lace. They claim it must be the technique for my production.

      • Indeed. My friends comment that I should not have time to make all the things I do between working and running a household. I point out that they have been to my home and can see that I do very little housework!

  42. Dear Stephanie, Yes! you are absolutely crushing it on your Patreon project and I for one can’t thank you enough. Also, thank you for, as you so often do, putting into words exactly how I, like so many others, are feeling during this topsy turvy time. I hope you know that your writing and speaking help us all so much to stay right side up. Carry on dear friend

  43. Ducks AND a great blue heron! what a photo. So glad you and your Elliot (I have one, too, she is 7) are having a wonderful summer! Lovely to hear from you. Time is a weird thing, it goes faster and faster with no consideration for us.

  44. Yes omigosh what is wrong with time?? So fast and yet so slow. And so little getting done despite being super busy all the time.

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  52. I get it about the blog in a way I never did before. After “meaning to” for about fifteen years, I started one last month. And it’s cool and neat and takes way longer than I thought it would. And I’m still mucking around trying to find my voice, but I know it will make me a better writer and a better knitter.

    And it’s given me even more appreciation for the body of work you’ve created here (which is remarkable, because I thought I already appreciated it pretty dang much!). Thanks for checking in and catching us up!

  53. Love the partridge heel and I’m not even a knitter. I’m sending it to my knitterly friend who always knits custom socks for my strange feet. My feet love them.

  54. I’m so glad you’re getting to be a very busy grandma again!! I know that is much preferred to the alternative. Sounds like you’re appropriately prioritizing things. Good luck with the socks!

  55. HA! Laughing myself silly at the “Joe in his underpants” comment. Thanks, Joe, for all the effort that you put into entertaining us – you’re a gem!
    Also, so glad you’re enjoying face-to-face time with Elliot again. I’m sure he missed you like crazy. Enjoy the warmth and swimming. We’re just entering Spring here in Melbourne.

  56. Gretchen Rubin (The Happiness Project, Happier at Home) says: The days are long but the years are short.
    This year, more than ever (or at least since my kids were little) that seems so true!

  57. It looks like there’s junk in the comments that should have been filtered. I so hope that’s not a sign of a bigger problem tech-wise!

  58. Dear Steph, For a while now the blog has not been as active as it once was. I find myself missing you. Since your beloved mother’s untimely death, the blog has fallen aside. Posts have become, sometimes, a monthly event. So I wonder and worry. I assume you are knitting away. It’s what I’m doing due to the pandemic(I’m in a very high risk category). I spin a bit too. Is it time to retire the blog? I’d hate to lose you, but change happens. If not, maybe you could try and check in a wee bit more often; with or without photos. Whatever you decide, whatever you and family are doing, please know that I wish you all that is good.

    • I’m remembering that the keyboard has been taken away to be repaired…repaired! Replacements are out of reach while isolating…isolating! We all miss the blog post that cheers and let’s us have a glimpse of life for Stephanie. If the posts are stretched out for keyboard, modem, server, and the other possibilities of electronic failure, the communication delay is not excessively long. We have had long gaps throughout the years. I’m certain we are not being ignored or neglected. Knit on, friends. Yarn Harlot will.

  59. Love, absolutely love the socks!! And Elliot – he’s marvelous! What I wanted to ask – do you still do the furnace wars? Loved hearing about those! I have to admit that I have given in and turned the heat on….

  60. Sending a quick note of support to some recent comments. Trust all are well and that you are taking care of what matters most in these challenging times.
    Most important is taking care of yourself (and your family) as you work through the unspeakable losses one on top of the other.
    Speaking purely for myself, I’ll be looking forward to the next post and/or book and/or chat when your schedule, and your interests, permit. Touch the pencil, how appropos. Until then, stay safe and well; take good care. Namaste,
    Bonnie aka Knitsiam

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