That goes double for you

For months now I’ve been telling anyone who complains that they’re off their game that these are exceptional times, and you’re allowed to roll with it however you need to. I reassure them that trying to weather personal storms while in the midst of global loss and fear in frightening times is challenging, and that if it means you’re not as productive or tidy or cheerful or laissez faire as usual, that’s cool. It’s a time to be gentle with yourself I say. Be as kind to yourself as you are to others.

I go away then, having said just that, and do (for the most part) the opposite.  Instead of reassuring myself that I’m actually doing pretty well, what with this being the most craptastic half year of my life, I have been making little lists of the ways that I am screwing it up. You were going to blog every day during the pandemic, I tell myself. You were going to spin when it rains. What happened to brushing up on your Spanish, and weren’t you going to run a 5k? Be in the best shape of your life? Write two books? Bake bread for all your friends, and while we’re at it, isn’t the house supposed to be cleaner than ever now that you’re in it all the time? (This one is epic. Turns out that being constantly in your house and using it for every aspect of your life trashes the joint. Who knew?)

I go to bed thinking essentially that tomorrow is going to be the day that I “get it all together” which is an awesome set-up for the next day, because it’s a goal that’s lofty but vague and therefore largely impossible to follow through on, and then I can disappoint myself properly that day too. I’ve essentially been setting a self-esteem trap every day and it turns out I’m great at it.

I’ve been wondering how to come back here every day when I’ve failed yet again, and it stalls me right out. I’ll have to apologize (again) I tell myself.  I’ll just tell the blog I’m sorry and I’ll do better from here on, and THIS WILL BE THE DAY I GET IT TOGETHER.

Well, it turns out it’s probably not. This is a time of great transition, and I want to be clear that I’m not miserable over here – I’m not lying at the bottom of a pit of despair ignoring a ladder right next to me. There’s good things and great things and bad things and for the most part I feel okay about how this family is doing.  I feel good about inventing a new job and getting us out of trouble, and I feel good about being as available to Elliot as I have been – If the kid can only have a few people in his life, they should be dedicated. I feel terrific about the time we’ve been able to spend together as a family this summer. I feel bad about how sad we are some days, and I feel sad too when I think of how many families feel the way that we do right now, with so much loss all around us. I don’t know how things are where you live, but here we are still under restrictions, mostly increasing ones right now,  and our world is tiny, and having the world shrink to this family and this house sometimes makes it hard to see outside of it.  (I realized the other day that I have lost my wallet. I mean, I’m sure it’s here somewhere, but it’s been seven months since I was in a store so its location has sort of slipped by me.) It is a strange and terrible time, and there are days when I just can’t be cheerful about it, and then days when I am with my family and I think that we’re in great shape, for the shape we’re in.

I miss my friends (especially my American ones) and travelling and knitting classes and conferences and Port Ludlow, and I dread the coming winter when our ability to see people out-of-doors and distanced will go away, and I feel bad for Joe that there’s not likely to be skiing this year, and I am worried about his parents who’s world has been very, very small for so long now.  I really wish we had a fireplace, or that those backyard firepit thingies were legal here. I have anxiety about the holidays, worried about what size and shape they will be and what we will do, and I asked on instagram the other day what people were looking forward to this winter (since I was short of inspiration myself) and there were great answers. Candles and soup, twinkle lights in every room, walks in the snow, movie nights, warm jammies, knitting mittens, the knowledge that I don’t have to put on real clothes for another few months….there is a list of good things. A big list.

I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, except that you are the blog. I am okay over here, I think. I worry sometimes that something is broken in us after all this, that we will never be the same, and I think that’s true. I think too many hard things happened to us too fast, and after this we will be different, and I think that’s okay. Different doesn’t mean bad, just changed, and maybe if I concede that I’ll stop waiting to feel the way I used to and just try to get used to…. whatever is normal for right now? I’m trying to figure out what normal grief looks like if we’re enduring a pandemic and damned if I know, but I wanted to tell you that I’m trying officially, starting now- to let myself off the hook for all of the messiness I experience while I figure it out. (Both literally, and figuratively.)

Of course, it’s possible that knitting an enormous grey blanket isn’t helping – never mind a grey blanket I screwed up.  It’s been a while since I made a spectacularly enormous knitting error, but here you go, this one’s a classic.  Years ago, I knit the MDK Moderne Log Cabin Blanket. It went fine. I loved how it turned out. Sure, that neutral garter stitch does sort of go on a bit (if you understand that “by go on a bit” I mean that you’ll weep near the end and beg for it to be over) but the result is so, so lovely.  So, I decided to make it again. (I gave away the last one.) I ordered the same yarn, I opened up the book, and I started. Joe and I were going away for three days, and it was the perfect time to get a big chunk of it done, and I did. I started as we began our long drive, with a very good feeling.

Now, here’s the thing. It seemed kinda big from the get go. Much larger than the last time, but I just thought to myself  that I didn’t recall correctly, and I kept going. Our getaway was a little yurt deep in the woods (the girls gave it to me for a birthday present. Neat, right?) No running water (except the river) no electricity, no civilization of any kind, and I thought that this would be perfect timing to really bash out a chunk of this blanket, and it was.

The setting was idylic, and I had hours knitting by the woodstove by candlelight listening to audiobooks, and grand fun knitting by the fire. It was super cold while we were there too (almost zero at night) and that by itself was pretty inspiring in the blanket department.

I can’t explain it,  but I did notice it was too big, but I kept thinking that it was going to work out. (Insane knitter theory #4: If I keep going, maybe this will stop looking too big. Essentially the idea that making something bigger will make it smaller. I can’t explain us sometimes.)  after three days, Joe and I came out of the woods, and as we drove back to the city, yay verily as the cityscape appeared on the horizon, I came to my senses. It was like being slapped in the face with reason and logic.  I opened the book to look at the instructions again and holy cats I am an idiot.

There are two blankets on that page of the book. An adult size, and a baby size. Now, obviously I wanted the adult size so that’s what I was knitting, but the original is knit out of DK weight yarn and I am using a bulky. The minute I looked at it I realized what I’d done last time, and what I should have done this time.  Knit the baby size out of bulky to get an adult size. I’d only completed three sections of the thing and it was already halfway to the size I was aiming for.

I came home and ripped it all out, and now I’m taking a second run at it – it’s coming out fine this time, thank you very much.

Though it’s rather possible I’m going to blow a deadline on account of the gaff.

I think I’ll forgive myself for that too.

198 thoughts on “That goes double for you

  1. So….quite possibly I would have kept going until running out of yarn (or, ordered more yarn to make the never-before-seen-super-giant size) because, really, can a cozy cushy blanket ever really be TOO big? I’d convince myself it would be oh so toasty when I doubled it up, even if I had to support it with tent poles to finish the knitting. But hey, whatever makes you happy is what you should do!

    The whole world has been turned upside down, and even though things are semi-OK in my little world, I’m depressed. Why? We are all healthy (of paramount importance), still employed, and there have been no major malfunctions with appliances or vehicles to cause worry, etc. So there’s no good reason, really. Except the whole world is upside down.

    I look for your posts, and am always happy to see one, but you don’t have to apologize to me for anything in them. Well, except maybe for pulling out all that lovely knitting! (not really.)

      • Me too. I have days where I’m depressed, and I’m NEVER depressed. Its the upsidedown, sideways world and the uncertainty of it all. I want some “normal” and its not available. So I’ll keep knitting 3 sweaters at once…

  2. So happy to have you back! Indeed, it is hard to be gracious to oneself, yet how can we love others if we don’t love ourselves well? Don’t think I’ll ever master it myself. Over the last 6 months, I often feel like Dori from Nemo, randomly singing “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”

  3. Glad to “see” you; I’ve been concerned about how you’re doing. I live in Montreal and our numbers just keep going up and up. I suspect like most of we moms/grandmas, what others need seems more important. But we MUST pay attention to ourselves. Remember, when you’re on a plane and the oxygen masks drop down, you put your own mask on FIRST, so THEN you can help others.

    • This is so true – I had a doctor tell me this – as I was struggling with my non-typical kiddo. “Mom, do you have YOUR oxygen mask on?” The first person in years to ask me that.

      I don’t think we’ll go back to where we were a year ago. But I also don’t know if I want to. This will be hard – the holidays will be hard (I’m in Canada with my son & husband – and my entire side of the family is stateside and we can’t make a visit happen) – but we will get through this. And maybe – as a result- we won’t take each other for granted as often. I have to believe that or I’m likely to curl up in a ball in the corner.

  4. It’s ok to feel the way you do. Your family and many others have had a very difficult year. I work in a store that is deemed essential so I just try to get through each day and then I fall into bed when I get home. I swear wearing a mask for 8 hours a day makes you more tired. I just tell myself to take it one day at a time and that this too shall pass. I knit a lot and watch more movies, so it’s not all bad. I’m not looking forward to this winter though. I’m glad your are back on the blog! I missed you

  5. Stephanie, remember: NO ONE, EVER, has got it ALL together. House cleaning is highly over-rated. Always mark your patterns as to which size you’re making. Afghans should be bright, rich colors (unless you’re knitting for Architectural Digest). You live in Canada, so Joe will be able to ski somewhere this winter, even if it is the back yard. Nobody is perfect, especially now, and you seem to be doing pretty damn good. Now, go visit the ducks and ask them where your wallet is.

    • I once saw a poster that said: Housework, if done properly, can KILL you! When I look at the dust, etc in my house at the moment, I think I want a sign: You may admire the dust, but please don’t write in it. With these sayings in mind, I can chuckle and go on with my knitting and movies.

      Be as kind to yourself as you are to others. God bless all of us.

      • Ha. I have a fridge magnet that says exactly that about the dust. (Not sure where it came from; likely a friend who knows me well.)

  6. The selfish side of me is sad that you don’t post very often, because I LOVE YOUR WRITING SO MUCH!! Of course, the logical side of me excuses you, and has no expectations that you will write any more often than you already do! You do what is best for you! And we will enjoy the wonderful snippets and musings when we get them!

  7. I’m so happy to see that you are here and okay! I was worrying. Life is strange and I don’t know if that will ever change, but I think we all just have to do our best to be happy with what we have. The blanket is beautiful! Take care of you, Stephanie.

  8. You have described my life these days perfectly (except for the part about being an absolutely fabulous professional knitter – I’m not very good, but I enjoy it). My late-night “To Do Tomorrow” lists aren’t at all vague, they’re quite specific and long, and guaranteed not to get done – or only partially at best. I am always at my most ambitious right before going to bed – list-making-wise anyway. Oh, and the pandemic has completely borked my sleep schedule. Yesterday’s “bedtime” didn’t start until 9:45 this morning. All that said I think humanity is going to come out the other side of this global nightmare stronger and more determined to make the world better. You are a big part of what’s keeping a lot of us sane. Never forget that. And thank you.

  9. Your paragraph about going to bed thinking tomorrow will be the day I will get things accomplished really hit home with me. I didn’t think about how I was setting myself up for “failure” each day. Thanks for the insight.

  10. So great to see you back again! Right there with you about the clean house – easier to let clutter build up because no one’s going to see it. Dreading winter when I won’t even be able to see people outside. So grateful to have knitting! Hang in there and I’ll be happy to read your blog entries whenever you are able to write one.

  11. So maybe just one book instead of two? (I say selfishly — I have all your books.) Your 1-second-per-day posts and Patreon are great at letting us see how you’re doing.

  12. I have a big birthday this year and I had all sorts of grand plans to run all these runs and eat right and get in the best shape of my life. Instead, many days, I eat an embarrassing number of mini donuts and just wait for a respectable non-depressionish bedtime. And then came all the quarantine to-dos that have never been to-done. What a let down of a year, on top of the fear and anxiety and loneliness, right? But then one day I was out walking and realized that I’m on my way to surviving the hardest year of my life. If that’s not an achievement, I don’t know what is!

    Cool blanket, btw. I’ve never accidentally made a blanket too big (it’s always the opposite for me)! But my first hat was a borderline small tote bag….

    • I had a big birthday this year, too, and I actually did spend a year and a half with a personal trainer getting in much better shape for that birthday . . . then Covid and an injured ankle made visits to the gym, and even walking, impossible. I may have lost it all and then some.

      Which is not just complaining, it’s a reminder that even when you do manage to get it right, something that’s not you can screw it up anyway. You have to sit lightly.

  13. Dear Stef, I am so glad to see you post! I have been a tad bit worried about you. I feel the same as everyone else… the wake up call about setting up for failure etc.

    We are all imperfect beings just doing our best.
    No one really knows how things are for another.
    I just wish Canada would give Mainers a pass. I had so planned to come up and visit your country. Maybe next year. Fingers crossed.
    Just for fun let me tell you we have the mommiest hen!!! Yes, there is a point to this story.
    She had her first hatching three years ago, and actually had three hatching that year, and the next year!! This year she’s had two but she’ll probably go for a third at the end of the month. She hatched four in April and 7 in August. For me and my mom…When things get to negative…talk about Covid, talk about our terrible political situation, and not being able to see those we love…(my daughter got married and she lives out West so I didn’t get to go, One of my mom’s remaining best friends died, and then this week her last sibling died.) Anyway what does this have to do with chickens??? Well when we get too negative in our conversation one of us will say our rallying cry…”Baby Chicks!” You could use any baby animal that makes you smile. But from my house let me wish you ‘Baby Chicks’!!!! I’d post you a picture but there isn’t a way that I know how to here. Hugs(())

    • Oh, daughters getting married…mine was supposed to get married next month but has now put it off until April next year…I haven’t seen her in months and the Premier if our state (Victoria, Aus) is talking about keeping us in lockdown even longer…my only child and I miss her so much. We were supposed to sprinkle mum’s ashes a couple of months ago but we weren’t allowed in to the state she wanted to be sprinkled in…so much sadness this year. No one we know has contracted the virus but so many major life events disrupted…most of the time I’m ok but every now and then it all gets a bit much.
      Kindness . I think that’s the answer.

    • OMG We have just had a bird lay 3 eggs in a nest on a protected windowsill at our house (Melbourne, Australia – lockdown for months) and my husband and I are so excited. We are two days in to a 14 day incubation and we are on egg watch! We will be over the moon when we have baby birds to watch (Baby Chicks!) and it looks like it will coincide with easing of restrictions so it will all be happy days.

  14. I couldn’t have asked for a better gift to myself today. Thank you for penning your truths. I desperately needed them. I feel like I can breathe again. Bless you, Stephanie. You are a beacon of hope today.

    • Spot on what I wanted to say, Kristine. Steph, thanks for being reflective, thoughtful, wise and managing to do that without any element of being a pompous twerp. You’re a gem, so very good to so very many people. I’m glad you’ve been reminded to be very good to yourself. If you don’t mind, I think some of ‘The Blog’ will lovingly remind you from time to time to put that into practise. Hope that’s okay.

  15. I’m glad that you posted. We’re surging in my county and I double-masked and gloved up for a quick grocery run. I’ve found a dk weight jabot pattern to knit and wear in honor of RBG and I continue to write postcards urging folks to vote. Be well, Steph, this era will leave it’s mark and it’s up to each of us individually to decide what that will be.

    • My husband and I each received one of those postcards, and they were lovely (likely not from you specifically, but from folks in the same organization). We didn’t need the reminder, but it was nice to receive cheery notes. So thank you.

  16. Lord, I was so happy to see your post. I figured you were all ok, or as ok as you can get, considering. The world seems upside down and reading about your life somehow brings back a little normal to mine. I wish I could help you all with your loss. We lost our Lucy on Mother’s Day of 2014. She would have been 8 this year. Having lived with that these past years, I’d like to tell you it does get a little better. Different. A grandmothers grief is different. The grief you feel for your daughter is nearly as bad as the loss. Peace and love to you all.

  17. Thank you for coming back. I have missed you.
    At the moment , the world is dreary and scary. Things will get better. As long as we have the necessities of life, shelter, food,warmth in the cold and someone to commiserate with (human or animal), we are better to concentrate on what we have than what we have not.
    Reaching out to help other people is a blessing.Even a phone call, or a post card helps us remember that we are all together in this craziness.

  18. If it was me, I think I’d knit that blanket right up into giant size and then crawl inside it and refuse to ever come out, especially for meetings. (Not the kind of meeting where you catch up with people you love, but the kind of meeting with agendas and minutes and such. I have more of them in my life than ever before right now.)

    So well done you for just continuing to participate in life, even if it’s all kind of messed up at the moment. Those who show grace to others often forget to show grace to themselves too.

  19. Dear Steph, Thank you for being human and real, and not having everything together although you’d like to do so. I’m glad to read that you realize there are good things in your life and are able to both nurture your family and reach out to find new ways of celebration. Pretty well all of us are in an odd “world”wind these days. I work as a grocery cashier and talk with a lot of people. Over and over people say they are hanging in, and that life generally is hard and strange. We are not just of two minds these days, but a dozen or so … all at the same time. I hope things continue to go generally well for you and your large family, that grief and happiness find their sweet/sad balance and that something makes you laugh out loud every day. BIG HUG, Maureen

  20. This first round has taught us how to do many things – we know how to safely get groceries, many of us have expanded our technical skills with Zoom get togethers, we’ve been able to watch & listen to so much great music, and we will still be able to visit outside with our families & friends. If we live in places with “winter”, we don’t hibernate, we dress for the weather. We have “winter” clothes! We knit warm things! So bundle up, fill your to-go mugs with hot drinks, gather your lawn chairs and visit outside. ☕️

    • Glad to see you back – I miss the cheerful chatter and the lovely photos. So envious of folks with time to knit a lot; my work-at-home has been busier than before due to the govt programs enacted with little notice. We also moved 3300 miles last August and had construction on different parts of the house until the end of July. I lost my housekeys at some point – who knows when because I’ve really gone nowhere since mid-March. Last week I found them in the pocket of my coat! If there was just somewhere to go now, I’m ready, but my car has been driven exactly 32.6 miles since I last put gas in it – in January!

  21. So nice to hear from you, anytime. Just knowing you’re still out there helps while I’m still here, too. We’re still in this together, all if it.

  22. A month or so ago I was completing a questionnaire about stress and even though I’m retired and don’t have any children or grandchildren I realized I was experiencing stress. Like you I was convinced I needed to get it all together since there is nothing else to do and it was stressing me out to try to do all the food preservation I thought we might possibly need, keep the house immaculate, work out every day, cook new and different meals every day, etc. etc. I decided that what I needed was one day a week where I just had no commitments and that one day is tomorrow for me. It’s worked out pretty well and it keeps me going through the rest of the week to realize that Sunday there is nothing I NEED TO DO. I don’t know if this would work for you but I’m throwing it out there just in case it is what someone needs to hear.

  23. I’m glad you took September off. “September” is too long and always ruins the beautiful curve of the month and year list running its blue wave down the right side of the page. In fact, you might want to consider axing February regularly, too.

  24. Dear Stephanie,, if it makes you feel any better, I was feeling pretty low tonight and maybe felt my face getting a little wet as I read this post, because yeah, this has been really hard … and then I saw the first blanket photo and laughed out loud at the mental image of a parachute-sized log cabin blanket.

    Thanks for doing you. <3

  25. I LOVE that blanket – and in those neutrals. Yes please! I think I may be adding it to my queue.

    I know you’ll take your own advice in the end — and you won’t too, because that’s how humans are. It’s good to have a post from you again. Thanks!

  26. I’ve been thinking about the people who lived through WW2 a lot, although WW1 was probably similar. Things just kept getting worse for a long time before they got any better. Lots of people died, families were separated. They had no idea how long the war would last; and if they had known, they might not have been able to keep going.

    We are so much luckier with the internet and our ability to manage a big part of our lives online, and our ability to communicate with everyone. Even with all of our modern wonders, though, this is still so much harder than I ever imagined it would be. I’m so thankful I can knit, and I just try to not expect very much from myself right now. “This, too, shall pass”…I hope.

    • CurliSu – The image that your comment brought to my mind gave me the best laugh I’ve had in days (or maybe even weeks)! Thank you!

      • About the only good thing about this past Winter here in Vic, Aus, is that the ski season was crap. Couldn’t get up into the mountains? Who cares, no snow anyway. Pantsless or otherwise, no biggie. In fact it was probably warm enough most of the time you could have been pantsless…I had better stop there…

    • CurliSu- Hahaha. Good one.
      Steph- You know with the money you save not going skiing, you could probably entertain Joe half a dozen ways. Rowing machine, his own stationary bike, comic books, box sets, etc.

  27. Go easy on yourself, please!

    And thank you for your Patreon, which is one of those things that makes these weird times feel not so bad. (Is it ok to see a silver lining in a global pandemic? I hope so!)

    Was I missing something with the blanket? Could you have just finished it in record time by carrying on in bulky yarn?

  28. So familiar with Rule #4…I’ve been applying it to EVERYTHING for years…much with the same outcome. Lol.
    The blanket (original and resized) are like lovely.
    The yurt holiday sounds like a great time…although 0℃ is colder than I’m ready for but great for yurt snuggling. Sweet idea those girls came up with!
    I’m happy to see any entry from you and if you need a breather….it just might be time to start from the blog beginning-I’m sure there are gems I’ve forgotten.
    Thank you for blogging…it’s always a bright spot in the day.

  29. Whoa girl, give yourself a break. You are doing just fine. We’ve all had a crap year and yours has definitely been worse than most. Keep on doing what ever you’re doing to get through each day. It’s your life, your choices and no one will be passing judgment. Just remember (This too shall pass.) I have just finished knitting Remi. I love the pattern and all the way through thought it looks as if it’s knitting up a bit small and guess what it is a bit small. So I’m now going to try and block it to the right size, fingers crossed.

  30. Hi Stephanie,
    I really look forward to hearing from you. I actually check your blog everyday even though I know you only write about once a month. But I have a routine every morning of checking all my favorite people so I don’t miss anything. However I figured you were busy working on the next patreon . I love your honest insights and humor.

  31. I know it’s moot because you’ve already ripped and restarted, but given that you do live in Canada, would an adult size in a bulky *really* have been too big? I would think the more wool you have covering you, the better.

  32. I just checked, and it looks like propane fuelled fire pits are allowed in Toronto. We have one, and it is a pretty acceptable replacement when a real wood fire isn’t an option. There’s warmth and ambience, you can roast marshmallows, and when you’re done, you can just turn it off! No concerns about safely extinguishing.

  33. Happy to hear from you and that you and family are OK. It has been a very strange time…interesting and frustrating. Lost my husband last Oct and around March when I thought I was actually going to manage things Covid and restrictions hit. So that put a really strange crimp on everything. I too have been very good at beating myself up over the cleaning….both house and property. I recently allowed myself to put a sock in that….beating myself up…got enough on my plate and and that is counter productive…My knitting has tested my sanity and moods…I have discovered my attention is not what it was and have ended up with some delightful mistakes that have become like puzzles to solve…I am actually finding I am learning a lot from that…Always did enjoy a good puzzle.

  34. Not to make light of your “gaff”, but it certainly makes me feel better as a long time knitter who makes mistakes to see that I’m not alone. And you’re so right…why do we notice that something seems wrong AND JUST KEEP GOING? Thinking that it will somehow magically repair itself. Thanks for all of your thoughts.
    Barb

  35. So happy to hear that all is well, or, as well as it can be! I was worried that something bad had happened when we didn’t hear from you for so long! Don’t worry, this too shall pass. Keep your chin up! We are all in the same boat thinking that well, now I have all this time, I will start exercising and keeping my house clean and …
    all that stuff. Hey, it could always be worse!

  36. Thank you for articulating exactly how I feel some times! Not the blanket part, the other part, although I could very well do the same thing for the blanket.
    Yes, we must be gentle with ourselves.
    Peace out. Sylvia

  37. Ah yes, the old ‘keeping-oneself-to-higher-standards-than-everybody-else’ – you’re note alone. And you certainly had more hardship this year than a lot of other people *hug*

    Love how the blanket is coming out!

    Andrea x

  38. Oh, my. Crap year is so right. To my consternation, I yesterday messaged a much younger – and truly gifted! – knitter to get a few questions answered on a sweater I’m making – and she’s already made and sold three. And I’ve been knitting for more than 70 years! I am getting better and better at ignoring the things I don’t want around me, or to do. It’s helping………But I think I’ll have to stop eating for 9.4 weeks to drop off the Covid-15……….Thank you for being back with us. Autumn is beautiful in the north country, isn’t it? (I’m in Minnesota, not too far from Fort Frances). Please may I visit again for more insulin? Or move to Winnipeg?? <3 :^)

  39. Oh, dear Stephanie, I feel your pain! Your despair resonates so deeply with me, but then it reminded me that my husband’s grandmother wrote of the 1918 flu epidemic. They lived in Philadelphia. She was pregnant and contracted the flu. The doctor gave up on her. Mark’s grandfather could not nurse her because he had to earn their livelihood — driving bodies to the cemetery. A neighbor lady took care of her. She and the baby survived. Mark’s grandmother lived well up into her 90s. Life did return to “normal” (whatever that is). There is hope. God help us all.

  40. Hello!
    I’ve been checking on you almost every day, and by that I mean, not that I was expecting you to post, but that I was thinking of you and just stopped by. I am glad to hear you giving yourself permission to experience your emotions!
    My house is a wreck too, and I’ll give two examples–3 weeks worth of laundry on the floor on one side of the bedroom; clean towels in the dryer, still there after a week. No more, it would only overwhelm you. I’m just managing to keep the kitchen clean, that’s about it on the list of accomplishments.
    Your blanket is beautiful!
    We are all struggling, some with much more on their plates than others. We will get through it somehow, some way. And I agree, most of us will be stronger.
    Your wise words help more than you know.
    Thank you.

  41. Instead of a KAL, I think we should have an FAL — a Forgive-Along, in which we all agree to forgive each other in advance for all the ways we fall short, whether in reality or in our own imagination. Steph, I’ve read your blog long enough to know you will forgive all of us, so let me say I would be honored to forgive you and all the Blog. Now and forever.

  42. Thanks for your post – it helps to know that I’m not the only one who feels like I’m on a treadmill, not getting anywhere. I guess we all need to be kind to ourselves and not set ourselves up to fail. Your blanket is lovely.

  43. LIke many others, I check on you daily and was relieved to see this post. It reminded me of recently when my friend and I went to our local Mexican restaurant for a late breakfast and our waiter was so happy to see us he almost hugged us. We are regulars and he told us that when they hadn’t seen the regulars they worried that something had happened to them rather than that we had just not been in.

    When we went into “Stay Home, Work Safe” mode back in mid-March here in Houston, TX, I went into cleaning mode of the whole house. I was 74 at that time (turned 75 in June) and am in the high risk categories and in case I contracted Covid-19 and died I didn’t want anyone to find my house a mess. Feelings have changed considerably since then and if I keep it dusted and vacuumed now and then I’m fine. I do have to do it now and then as I have three dogs and two cats inside and I think the cats have competitions to see who can carry litter the farthest from the box!

    We were allowed to go out for groceries so I was happy about that as I’m picky and like to select my own fruits and vegetables. I’ve watched some of those store shoppers! I’ve not done as much knitting as I had hoped, not for lack of stash, as I’ve found, like someone else mentioned, I lack the attention span. I have done a lot of sewing and made over 100 masks to give away. That used up a lot of what I call my “ordinary” fabric stash which made me happy.

    Although not a lot changed for me since I’m very much a home body, these have been stressful times for many but “It is what it is”, my motto since I had breast cancer and things will eventually get better.

  44. Stephanie, you are not alone in all these feelings. Everything is disrupted. You are such a great mum, knitter, writer and all round great person. I have many things to choose to do but am missing the mojo even with knitting. Thank goodness for my littles (grandchildren) even though one lives far away. Hugs are essential. I fling them on messenger to my family. Take care and hang in there. We will get through it.

  45. I think it has been a weird year for all of us. I experienced the death of a friends daughter. her death has touched me in ways I am unable to truly articulate. My knitting crew is at stay at home mode for a variety of health reasons. We do meet up on Mondays again in the coffee shop that is now open again, lots of missing members, new group filling the gap. Yes I have enough stash but as the election comes closer I am stashing again, and I am scared. I realized that I am going to have to learn some medical technics so that I can help out in an emergency, figure out a way to store food, and be able to sustain myself and husband for three months. I don’t trust my government to handle several emergencies real, or imagined. We are all going to be on our own and we need to learn some basics. One thing is to work with others in our small neighborhood. Build friendships, and possibly buy some chickens. Life in the USA, Texas.

  46. Thank you for articulating what so many of us are feeling. The losses and sadness are different but the challenges remain. Peace to you and your loved ones.

  47. There is a season for all things, including frogging a humongous project. I had been knitting a shawl on the fly, very pleased with the lace pattern I unvented. As I was embarking on the final frill I had to admit the yarn was a bit slick, the yarn and lave pattern was snaggy. After sitting in the time out corner since March it is time to frog it and look forward to knitting it again with a more sensible pattern. Keep calm and knit on……

  48. Happy to see your post even though I do follow you on IG for my Yarn Harlot fix. This is a letter from a dear friend and so good to receive. I can say “amen” to just about everything you’ve observed.

    My favorite line in this post is, “I don’t know why I’m telling you all this, except that you are the blog.” We are the blog! I remember in earlier days when your girls or Joe would frequently say to you “what does the blog say?” or “ask the blog.” It just drew us all in. We were sitting beside you like best friends; it made us feel a little important. We – the blog – are still here, and we love you so. Take care of yourself.

    xoxo

    • Exactly. We’re the blog.
      Bye the way, Steph, the blog is easily pleased. Just throw us a blurry photo of a wooly hat you made three years ago, and two to four sentences on hats and why they get lost or similar. And tada!, we’re thrilled. Easy as pie, we are. You literally can’t disappoint us, we’re like someone’s mother.

  49. It’s a good thing you’re on Instagram. I could see you were on your bike, or knitting, or spending time with sweet Elliot, or enjoying the water, and I was hoping the whole time that it meant you were ok, that the silence on the blog would not last forever. And it hasn’t. This is a terrible and different time, and you just write when you want to, no apologies needed.

    I love the way you share your knitting mistakes. It lets us mere knitting mortals know that even famous knitting goddesses make epic knitting mistakes.

    I think the major achievement of 2020 — and maybe 2021, too — is just to survive this thing. Anything else we do is just gravy. Take good care of yourself.

  50. I’m glad you’re back to posting – I miss your thoughtful words. This is a crazy time & we are all unsettled, trying to find our way in the strange & ever changing world that we are living in. Self compassion is hard to practice, so much easier to encourage others instead of practicing it ourselves – thank you for the reminder!

  51. So good to hear from you, and to have you put into words how we are all feeling these days. We need to be kind to ourselves as well as others. The blanket looks fabulous. Be well. Stay safe, and take care.

  52. I had to smile at the part where you’re sure it will sort itself out if you just keep knitting. I’m quite good at that one. And, each time I’m ripping out double (or more) the amount I would have had I stopped when I should have. I’m 72 and thinking it would be good to straighten out that thinking any time now.
    FOR READERS:
    Sign up for Stephanie’s Patreon thing. I’m betting it’s what she’s been doing. It’s such a joy to hear AND see her.

  53. One, that blanket is beautiful! Two, I will just steal someone else’s wise words and remind you that “To err is human, to forgive divine.” So let’s be divine. #ForgiveOurselvesOurHumanWeaknesses

  54. Glad to “see “you back again Steph and know that you are keeping safe. I’ve not seen my family since last year, with contact reduced to email, text and phone messages, so have become a total recluse knitting over 40 projects to keep my sanity. You are by comparison, doing a fantastic job my Sweet, so savour the available times with your loved ones despite the limited freedoms & be kind to yourself.
    Love and blessings to you and yours

  55. Dear Stephanie,

    So glad to see your post! At this point, slack with everything, including my stretchy pants is just a necessity. A sign in a garden I walk by every day brings me comfort: “Just try to be decent. That’s what you’ll be remembered for.” Your posts help me to be decent.

  56. Thanks for the post!
    We are always happy to hear from you, whenever that is.
    As usual, your words are right on.
    Given Toronto Public Health’s new strong guidelines on Friday, sounds like a lot more hunkering down will be required for some time yet.
    Good thing there’s yarn. (Coffee beans can be delivered.)
    Keep well!

  57. It’s so good to hear from you again. I missed you but understood you were probably experiencing the same malaise that I am. I’ve ripped more knitting since COVID began than ever before. It feels like there is a big black cloud in my head that prevents concentration and following directions correctly. I hope it will go away once the pandemic passes.

    Here in Australia we are coming into spring with birds nesting and trees and shrubs bursting with blossom. I try to look around and appreciate what we have, not what we have lost.

    XXX

  58. Thank you for the lovely reminder about being kind to yourself.
    I also lost my wallet at home some time ago… and amazingly enough, I thought that six months into a pandemic the house should be tidy… which is still such an alluring notion that I am constantly thinking another few weeks should do it!
    It is nearly Thanksgiving and I am going to let go of the shoulds for a bit, or at least try to!
    Good luck with the blanket! Whoever it is for is lucky!

  59. So relate to this post, so love how you gift us with it. Thank you.

    Both the now ripped out one and the new one are lovely. But sometimes you do just have to be the boss of it and have something go how you tell it to in the face of all the things out there right now that don’t. Knit on.

  60. Thank you for posting. I’ve missed you. That sounds odd. Because even though I’ve read every one of your posts, I’ve never replied before. Part of my craptastic year has been evacuating because of the Cameron Peak wildfire in Colorado. While still under investigation, there was no lightning in the area that day (which points to a person being the cause of the fire). *My* evacuation is inconvenient only. But I’ve certainly been out of sorts. Sleepless at night. Not wanting to get up in the morning. Living alone does not help.

  61. Welcome back, lamb. You make quarantine a bit easier for a lot of us. That’s not nothing. That is, as a matter of fact, quite a lot of something this year. And I haven’t yet watched a Patreon episode without learning at least one new thing and laughing at least once. With that in mind, and despite your reluctance to be pushy, would you please mention the Patreon again, with a link, and then maybe post a permanent/for the duration link in the sidebar? I suspect a lot of people who would enjoy it may have missed the initial link, and with a rough winter coming, an entertaining diversion that also guarantees improved keeping-warm skills is a steal at five bucks. Thanks. Good to have you back.

  62. Yes, we are the blog. And we are all hanging in there together. I read the comments as well as your posts, so I’m checking on my blogmates, too, when I check on you.
    This has been a craptastic year. It was especially hard when both the library AND the parks were closed. Both are open, but still, I find myself going there less. My hips hurt from too much sitting. I haven’t seen my granddaughter since March, but we sometimes videochat. She finds me much more interesting since I died my hair bright blue (it covers the gray very well).
    I have managed to see my sibilings, and my mom once or twice. My kids are good, so basically all is well.
    Hang in there, we love you. And to all my blogmates, I love you all, too. Be good to yourselves!

  63. The initial giant block knit in that bulky is stunning. I might need to try one like that for myself. I even have the book. Now if only I was there, and had any bulky in the stash. . .

  64. In the beginning of pandemic after the initial panic went away, I wanted to make use of my extra three hours a day of NOT commuting to the office by knitting ALL the things, reading ALL the books, because a master fiddle player and I too need to polish my Spanish and work out like crazy.

    But oddly enough, I became this weird hermit. I did knit a lot but my sense of stability went away. Then in August, I rescued two kittens and gave my life a bit of purpose. They gave me a bit of routine too and someone to talk to. My children no longer live at home so it gets lonely at times (but I do keep busy with my many hobbies and love being a hermit in normal times).

    Since September, I’ve tried getting back in workouts, and knitting and journaling my progress in a diary that is very simple… In the morning I note what I am thankful for and my 3 goals for the day. During the day I check off exercise, drink water, go out of my comfort zone, an act of kindness, relax and read. In the evening I note what was a positive thing of the day, something to improve on and three tasks to do for tomorrow. I love it! It put me back on track. I just joined a fiddle challenge to practise daily for two weeks.

    I reach out to my family by phone or video chat daily and it brings me comfort by knowing they are ok.

    I was dreading winter but I stopped. I love the Fall season and I will enjoy the smell of leaves, the crisp air, the wonderful pots of tea and my kittens curled up beside me. I will embrace this season and not dread the winter and possibility of no celebrating the holidays. I will look forward to Solstice instead.

    We canceled Thanksgiving as a big family. It will be just my Mom and I this year (my daughter is away at College in Thunder Bay and my son might join us if he is not working in Montreal) and my sisters who have larger families will celebrate with their immediate family.

  65. Dear Steph, in your lovely complex sentences I feel a fellow heart beating. I have tried for years to kick that stoopid demanding inner voice off its dang pedestal so It can get done here and do something useful!

    My only daughter is living in very strict lockdown, away from me. Naturally her contacts are full of her stress and anguish as she struggles to cope with online learning and no friends (worse, no friend’s CATS, to visit). I am helplessly sending mummy care parcels to her – with as many silly/gourmet items included as I can find in my limited shopping options.

    There is a little voice keening in my heart, that says ‘oh I need a hug with my grrl’. When my arms finally go around her, that will be A Moment.

    Love to you and yours Steph, and to the blog community who stand so loyally behind you.

  66. I love that you got away. Will life get to normal? New normal? Thank you for the blog, your knitting, and commitment to keeping us in your life.J

  67. Stephanie, I’ve never met you but feel like I know you after reading or listening to each of your books, and then regularly check on your blog. I think you are wonderful. Thank you for sharing your inner criticisms, as I share so many of them, and it makes it even more obvious that my sense of what is important and who I’m disapointing is probably quite skewed.
    You help to make things a little bit lighter in what you share. That is a wonderful gift. Thank you.

  68. Thank you so much for this thoughtful post. I’ve had days and days where all I can bring myself to do is try to knit. I keep saying to myself that tomorrow will be better but 24 hours later I’m in the same place. It’s a remarkable time. Our Thanksgiving plans are all scaled back and I’m trying not to think about what the December holidays are going to look like. I am grateful that my family has all been healthy over all these months and that my pup is ecstatic to see me whenever I come into the room. Our region is now moving back into stricter conditions and so it goes…

  69. Glad you checked in. I was starting to worry, and coming up with horrible scenarios. Was someone in your family sick? Were you sick? Were you spending all your time under the table refusing to come out? Had you GIVEN UP KNITTING and blogging about it?

    Thank you sharing, and reminding anyone that needs it that whatever a person has to do to cope with this weirdness is OK, and we will get through it.

    However, I still have lingering doubts to your sanity since you have chosen NOW to knit a giant garter gray blankie, with all the grayness of a Canadian winter looming in front of you. Isn’t this when you start something complicated and bright?

  70. Welcome back, Stephanie – you’ve summed up perfectly what so many of us are feeling. I go around daily with a low grade nagging headache (it is there when I wake up and its still there when I go to bed), there are days when I can’t get any mojo going, and then there are days when I’m cleaning my house at midnight because I feel it is the only thing I can control. And you are right – we will be forever changed by this time…but if some of those changes are more frequent sanitizing of cashier stations, and bigger spaces in line ups, I’m actually OK if those remain long term. Knit on, knitters- there is comfort in yarn, sticks and stitches.

  71. Thank you so much for writing Steph! I live in California sort of in between where the biggest fires have been going on. Also I am an insurance agent. I worry a lot about my friends and family and customers. Of course that’s in addition to all the rest of the stuff going on. Knitting used to be a refuge for me, but for some reason I just can’t knit right now. It’s been too hot most of the time to hold anything. The focus is a bit of trouble too. I can’t even get through a row. I pick up the patterns to remind myself where I was, then pick up the knitting, and just can’t make it very far before I have to put it all down again. I hate 2020 and all it has brought us. Please let 2021 be better!

  72. Hello!
    Honestly, my life hasn’t changed a bunch. We farm so harvest continued as normal and for the first time in twelve years, we got done before thanksgiving! However it’ll be just us…our daughter and family lives in southern MB and have a bit of an outbreak right now so are staying put. Stupid Covid

    I was already living a fairly isolated life so tried to continue on as normal although I have only seen my grandkids once since March.

    I recently had a phone appt with my doctor as I was thinking I was depressed or something. Very tired, sugars out of whack and forcing myself to do anything. He sent me for some lab work as I’m diabetic and called back on Friday laughing and gave me a prescription for spinach and broccoli lol. I already feel better

  73. So glad to see you back on the blog! These are difficult times for everyone and we all need to treat ourselves and each other more gently as a result. It’s more than enough to do the best you can do at any given time recognizing that what that looks like will change from moment to moment. Sending love your way. <3

  74. At least we have crafting!

    Can you imagine going through the pandemic and all you have to look forward to is housecleaning, cooking, and TV?

    As long as we wake up each morning, we are in better shape than many.

  75. Oh Stephanie, you are so much loved – family and blog alike, though different. You put into words the very things I’ve been feeling. Thank you. Now – back at you – “these are exceptional times, and you’re allowed to roll with it however you need to.” Your own words to live by. We are so blessed that we have a safe place to be and decent conditions in which to live. My biggest surprise has been, after six months of cooking, I’m burning out. I never thought that would happen. So we are ordering food out more often. I’m letting myself be okay with that. I knit in spurts, alternating with brain games on my phone, just to keep it ticking.

    As mentioned above, we need to put on our oxygen mask first, (I love that quote) so that we can take care of the other people/things in our lives. Your escape trips give me hope that we can do that again too. Hugs!

  76. Glad you’re still hanging in there, however barely that may be. I’ve never been crazy about log cabins, but I’ve suddenly been struck with an irrational need to knit one in lovely neutrals & naturals. Huh, not sure why.

  77. I knit the adult size out of worsted, and my youngest daughter still said that the blanket was too small, after I added a 10 stitch border all the way around.
    I’ve knit this thing 3 times (both daughters, and one for me)… and hubby keeps stealing mine, but doesn’t want one for himself. I should just knit him one.

  78. I was so delighted to see a new post! I always enjoy hearing about your life, thoughts, and knitting. I have been a fan for many years. Take care…and be good to yourself. ♡

  79. I don’t often comment here. I just love to read your blog because it has a sensible approach to what is, indeed, the worst year for many of us. It calms my heart and my soul while my mind keeps racing towards the disaster that could be our (USA) election next month. Knitting helps some but there are days when the fear overtakes me. That’s why I love your blog. You face the fear and encourage us to do the same.

  80. Thank you for writing again. I was missing your blog posts, although I’m following you on instagram as well. I like reading about how others are doing during this time especially yarn people 😉 . I found out, I don’t have much more knitting time than before, that’s maybe because I’m a single mom and where homeschooling for the first time for a long time. – I’m living in Germany and things are a bit different here, we were so lucky. The case numbers are raising again now that it’s going to be colder but it’s also because we don’t have so many restrictions here (ok, wearing masks, also at school but the kids are doing much better then the grown ups), we can meet with 10 people today and with a group of 10 others tomorrow, it’s kind of crazy. And we’re having 10.000s of people over here that are demonstrating without masks against the heavy restrictions they think they are under. It’s so crazy. My daughter (now 7) couldn’t meet any other child for 10 weeks and she couldn’t meet anybody else than her father every now and then. But now, it’s almost back to normal for normal people. I hope so much it’s getting better everywhere in the world and that there will be a cure that is easy to make available everywhere in the world. – For not worrying too much I also started a blanket but I think I might be only a baby blanket in the end. I don’t know what I was thinking when I started a blanket with fingering yarn.

  81. You gave us this huge gift of the last post which captured the way so many of us were feeling and being and let us not feel so guilty about it. That was a pretty huge accomplishment, and you did that on top of nurturing a little guy and by doing so nurturing his parents and his extended family. How in the heck could anyone, even you, expect you to do more?

    Seriously, that last post, by capturing what I’d been feeling, did me tremendous good. So thank you again, and be nice to my friend Stephanie, please.

  82. It is really a beautiful blanket. I can see why you want one for yourself. I saw your yurt pics on Instagram and must admit to some envy until you said how cold it was.

    You are right to cut yourself some slack. No one needs to feel guilt about not accomplishing much of anything in 2020. Just surviving in relative sanity is a win!

  83. I suggest you adopt Elizabeth Zimmermann’s comment: “Knit on with confidence and hope through all crises”. That’s what I’ve been trying to do. 2nd, I just try to do better today than I did yesterday. And finally, love the time you’re getting to spend with your grandson. He may not remember specifically what you guys did together but he’ll remember the feelings and your love.Tie another knot in the end of your rope and keep on keepin’ on.

  84. Dear Steph,
    We miss you as much (or more) than you miss us. This has been an epic, dumpster fire of a year. Nothing is the same, nothing is in our comfort zone. We need to find our joy where we are. Knitting, a great dinner, enjoying our small circle. I hate that this is our new normal. Please blog when you can, it makes it feel normal. This too shall pass and we will find our new comfort zone.
    Be well!
    Gretchen

  85. have you thought about doing a zoom knitting circle(s) to benefit the bike ride? Limit the size to make up for the lack of in-person time. No stress of a lesson. Just doing what many of us love together but safely apart for a great cause. Folks from around the world would be able to participate. Just a wild idea to reduce, not add stress.

  86. Missed you….but hey, it’s COVID days. I find I have initiative for some things but not at all for others.

    You did the blanket. I keep baking/cooking things and realizing I’ve left out a key ingredient two seconds after I slide the thing into the oven. Rescued the chocolate chip cookies with no chips just this weekend….

  87. I now live in the COVID Capital of Connecticut ( I am really very fond of aliteration). Our numbers are up too. Probably not as many restrictions as there should be. I wish you would post more too but I love that you are out there living your life the best way you can. I really like the blanket but what Iove more is the humor and honesty in all of this. You spent hours making a video on swatching and proceeded to knit a blanket which, if completed, would have been just the right size for a Clydesdale, all the while trying to get rid of that housebound feeling by living in a yurt. So glad you are enjoying Elliot.

  88. Thank you for being just human like the rest of us and sharing that with us. Sometimes I think everyone else is doing just fine and I am the only one going over the edge. It’s nice to see that I am not alone .Sacrificies and Supplications to the higher power of your choice that we make it through the coming s**t storm of the election we are facing here. Love and tolerance to all

  89. thank you for posting, i was truely worried about you! hang in there and know that the blog and the knitting world is here to support you, even if silently! sending hugs

  90. And your American friends miss you as well. Living in a place that has never actually locked down thanks to our governor, my world has gotten very small just trying to keep my family safe. I believe you are right, things will never be the same again, and it is only as we figure out what our new world is going to look like that we can move on. Folks I trust are saying 1 to 2 years before we will be able to travel again. I’m so glad I got a few big trips over the last couple of years, and I’m thankful for things like the coverage the Le Tour de France and the Giro that are letting me see the world from the comfort of my new, almost completed, home. Hugs to you, friend. Stay well!

  91. I’m one of those moms that is currently teacher, house cleaner, therapist, gardener, project manager, as well as wife, bill payer, cook, and organizer.

    That being said I frequently have dreams of drowning.

    Being kind to myself has taking a mandatory time every week. (Currently my lys has been doing knit together s on Saturday’s outside in the sunshine.)

    Being kind to my self also includes scraping the crazy. The crazy idea that I was going to bake everyday of the quarantine. It was a good idea when quarantine was only going to last 2 weeks, remember that? The crazy that I was going to help my adhd son get ahead in his studies over the summer. I don’t see these scraped ideas as failures I see them as a misjudgment on my part because I had misleading info.

    Now I just try to look forward to the small bits of joy. Take out dinners, trying chocolate tahini for the first time, dreaming of our next trip, and knitting outside while the weather still holds. Buy all the candles you can, get really nice soap for yourself, and skip the crazy. That’s my advice

  92. Yes to everything, and listen to the Blog. We love you.

    Have you considered getting one of those space heaters that looks like a wood stove or fireplace? No, they’re not real, but they do have a funky charm. We don’t have a fireplace in our home, either, but I discovered several channels on Netflix that are films of “fireplaces.” Some of them have Christmas music. Finally, all of my suggestions have the singular benefit of not requiring wood, and there’s no cleanup.

  93. Thank you again, Stephanie, for mirroring what many of us are feeling right now! I can’t understand how I have managed not to get my house clean and organized, when, for the first time in YEARS (literally), I’ve had the time to do so! And my great knitting projects? (Swirl sweater and Noro blanket)? Well, the last section of one has been sitting on the kitchen table for 3 months. It would take me about 2 hours to finish the damn thing. But it sits.
    You are right about needing to be kinder to ourselves. I think I’ll start tomorrow……

  94. THANK GOD THAT HELL IS OVER!
    I mean, hi, I missed you, thank you so much for blogging, I’m so glad you wrote a blog entry. Because I miss you and it turns out this is a wonderful corner of the internet to visit. I love your living room.

    Hugs and see you again someday. I miss you. I am full of capslock feels. I love you and I long for the day we can all be in Port Ludlow together. Or whatever. Maybe we can do a retreat through Zoom? (Hi why yes look at me grasping at straws. Grasp grasp grasp. Whee!)

    My son still loves the story of the Sock Summit, when we were setting the record for knitters knitting simultaneously, and you said, “Now’s the time to whee if you need to” and someone in the audience said, “Whee!” and we all cracked up.

    Anytime I say “whee!” he says, remember that time the Yarn Harlot said. And we both laugh.

    So, um, thanks so much for being you, and caring about things, and being so cool, and sharing with us so much. You’ve made so many people’s lives better, and I’m being 100% sincere about that. Thank you, Steph, hugs and looking forward to that day we can all be in the same place together again.

  95. I don’t know if this is something that you can do to substitute for not having a fireplace, Stephanie, but a year ago I finally stopped trying to imagine two candles were a fireplace in my small condo. I bought an electric fireplace unit. I felt incredibly silly even thinking it would work. Where was the smoke, the ash and the crackle of flames? But desperate times call for desperate measures so I unpacked a small unit, plugged it in, set a favorite tchotchke on top, and fell in love. I guess sometimes even partway to a dream is good enough. Who knew it would save me a hundred times during this ridiculous year.

  96. It is just so darn good to hear from you again, whatever your normal is. Thank you for being brave and writing and knitting and being you. That is all I believe we as a blog desire. Sending love and light from AK.

  97. Oh THAT blanket. Pretty sure I started that in the middle of my 2008-depression knitting, made it 2.3 units, then threw it away sometime in 2011. Lovely blanket, but it was adding to the funk!

  98. The talk I give my friends, and that I try to listen to myself, is that this is a time to be endured, not to thrive. We are playing pandemic chutes and ladders. Some days we go along making progress and then whoosh! The floor falls out from under us.

    My house is filthy. My kids are fed. I haven’t knit for months, or spun, or played fiddle. Reading your post made me think I should pull out some bulky yarn I dyed and start that blanket. What have I got to lose?

    Also, blogging. Maybe setting some words down will help me out of the malaise. Maybe more coffee will help. Maybe…

  99. Be kind to yourself. These are, in fact, difficult days. Also, if Hubby dares to comment on my casting on yet another blanket (My Covid isolation survival strategy has been blanket making), I am going to tell him that it is your fault. 🙂

  100. Thank you for your honesty. It’s unprecedented times and how you feel is how you feel. But most important ..its OK.
    I think so many of us feel just like you do.
    Sometimes I play the list game too. But its often short and achievable.
    1. Get out of bed
    2. make coffee
    3. go for a walk
    That’s it.
    We are all trying to figure out how this “new world” is going to work out.
    Minute by minute…day by day….
    P.S. good chocolate helps too!

  101. We are fine over here as well. Better than fine. Financially secure and not completely alone. Connecting once a week via zoom with knitting group. Everything is fine. But I miss my family. We are spread out in different states and we are not traveling state to state. Sometimes I wish we could be a bit more “science isn’t real” about this whole pandemic thing and throw caution to the wind without fear and worry and just go see my parents. But that is not who we are. Sometimes I am jealous of those who don’t seem to care or worry about the virus are just living life the way they always have.

    In the meantime, I am knitting a LOT. I am knitting like the crazed housewife who obsessively cleans her house in a desperate attempt to convince herself that everything is ok and fine because the house is so damn clean. My knitting has the desperate energy. I wouldn’t say it is a particularly good feeling energy, but at the same time if I wasn’t knitting I think I might be crying, so there’s that.

    The bottom two levels of my hierarchy of needs are fine. So I have a lot more than a lot of other people right now.

  102. Oh, hello Stephanie. It’s nice to see you blogging again. I’m sorry to hear you’ve been in rut, but aren’t we all lately? Please consider this a friendly hug from an acquaintance out in the knitting internet. I am thinking of you with good wishes today.

  103. I agree with Rams. Steph, we miss you here on the blog when you don’t post very often, but we understand and your Patreon site is wonderful. I’ve never had the chance to take any of your retreats or classes so I love love being able to learn from you. I’ve been knitting for over 50 years and learn something new from every posting. I’ve watched some of them multiple times. I’ve tried to tell others about it. It is the best $6 a month I’ve ever spent. Let the blog know about it!! And make it easy for them to find it.

  104. So here I am, finally reading a little.
    All those plans…now am lucky to manage a couple of rows at a time. Major headaches took over my life.
    Next up, surgery.
    I did not expect a diagnosis of a brain tumor.
    Big enough that pandemic or not, it’s happening.
    Life goes on, maybe not quite the way planned but…life.

  105. Dear Stephanie – so very glad to read a new post from you. This has been a year of so many difficulties, in so many ways, for nearly everyone. Not comparing one level to another, just that the difficulties seem to never stop smacking us in the face, in the heart. Sending blessings and good knitting, always.

  106. Thank you so much for opening your heart and sharing with us. Your family has truly had an extra-difficult, extra-challenging year in a world of lives filled with extra difficulties. I hope that you can feel all of the love that The Blog is sending back to you — we can certainly feel the support you’re sending to us.

  107. Just so happy to see you! You were really whacked by the fates in the midst of general disaster this year, no way around it. Seems to me that you have a good combination of pick yourself up by your bootstraps and let it go self care working for you. I love your blanket story. We all have those. The lovely yarn I bought in Paris (!) that became the world’s ugliest baby sweater…

  108. Delighted to see a new post. We are all in this together and all us females are, like you, trying to be kind and gentle with ourselves, the hardest thing to do. In case anyone needs a Yarn Harlot fix between posts the Unraveling Podcast is having a book discussion about KNITTING RULES. They talk about a chapter or part of a chapter every two weeks. I pulled my book back out and am re-reading with them. Great fun!

  109. There is no such thing as getting it all together. Take each day as it comes and do your best without sweating the small stuff. (I didn’t come up with this, but my life is so much better since I started living it.)

  110. Right? I wake up every morning and say to myself “today I’m going to do all the stuff.” and I get up, make coffee, let the dogs out, feed the cats, feed me… and that’s it, that’s all I’ve got. I have read 147 new-to-me books this year, and that is an order of magnitude less than the books I’ve re-read. Last year I set a “stretch goal” of 115 books … in April I’d read 60 and decided to stretch that goal to 150… I’m going to blow by that… but that’s it, I’ve done the minimum required to live… I’ve run the vacuum cleaner twice since April. I do laundry when I’m out of clothes (and I have a lot of clothes)
    I told my doctor “I have Covid brain” she said “Join the club.” We had a discussion about depression and executive functions and I’m taking my antidepressants again. We’ll see how it goes…

  111. Stephanie,
    In the part of this post about the effect of the pandemic on you and yours, you speak for hundreds of millions of people all over the world. You have articulated it better than anyone else. I wish everyone could read it because it resonates so completely with the experience all (except, sadly, our POTUS in the USA and his allies) are having. You are a treasure.

  112. Glad to see you whenever…although I miss you! I think we are all just one foot in front of the other… but…since we are all in this mess together, we will get through it together❤️ With laughter and tears…. thank you for verbalizing what so many are feeling… off to finish another WIP before I can start something new…..thank you and bless you and yours❤️

  113. I love that pattern–I’ve knitted it three times so far (two baby, one afghan as a wedding gift) with another planned. Your “mistake” has inspired me to possibly make a giant one for myself!

    I have a poster hanging above my stove that says “A Clean House Is A Sign Of A Wasted Life” If it’s not as clean as you planned, it’s because you are doing other things 🙂

    Take care of yourself

  114. Gosh, your words resonate so much with my own feelings. I spent the summer finding ways to soothe the trauma of the spring (and I know it was trauma despite my being healthy, employed, warm, well-fed — all the necessary things except it turned out they weren’t ALL the necessary things – missing my sons and siblings and friends and Dad terribly, still) but am feeling some of the anguish returning as the days shorten and it gets distinctly colder (frost last night). I was just telling my Dad this afternoon that time has become very “slippery” – one of the things I have not gotten a grip on since mid-March. But, I’m immensely grateful for knitting, for Zoom, and music. And, I owe ever so much to my Headspace app. So, just like you, am barely holding on but appreciating the things I have and missing the things I don’t. And, trying every day to not beat myself up for not having it all together.

  115. Look in a knitting bag for your wallet, that’s where my noise cancelling earbuds were hiding. I hadn’t used them since my flight home from London last August. I too miss traveling so much.

  116. Honestly, I can’t believe you didn’t just keep knitting (I’m on team no blanket too big), but good for you for doing what’s right for you. Always glad to see your posts whenever you have time to write them, and wishing you and all the rest of the Blog much love and kindness in the days ahead. ♥️

  117. Thank you so much for this post! As so many writers above have said, you’ve really described our feelings and experience of this endless crazy time: and then the blanket!! “Been there done that” knitting a shawl that grew and grew, with wrong-size needles, in old Lopi I couldn’t rip out without it shredding; so it’s now a huge beast, a wonderful warm one on cold winter mornings out in the sunroom!

    Most of all, dear Steph, it’s so good to connect as we do here with so many women, knitters everywhere, and read about each other’s experiences, and to hear again how much we all have in common in life, no matter where or how each one of us might be. Such a relief, and helps lighten that demoralizing lonely feeling from not being able to do All The Things — or even just some of them (I’m looking at you, dusty pile of dirty laundry). xxx

  118. Hello .o .o .o !!!

    Hey … over here … yes been waiting to hear from you! yup … feel and think about the same about the year, the house, self improvement … all of it.

    Nice to see you are writing. Hope the summer was super! I saw your posts, loved ’em.

    Maybe I will get out of my rut. Maybe I will wait till 2021 cause it really can’t get any worse.

  119. Dear Steph – I’ve missed your posts and am so glad to see you’re getting through this weird period of time. Covid is one thing, but losing a grandchild must be . . . well, I can’t even begin to find words. Grief comes in waves and can hit us in some unexpected ways.

    I live in the States, and am so missing my frequent visits just across the border to Canada. I’m especially missing Salt Spring Island, where I was scheduled to take a Saori weaving class last summer. Instead, I had knee replacement surgery & spent the summer recovering from that, doing PT and a bit of knitting & weaving.

    Thank you, Steph, for being there.

  120. My husband thinks that knitters never should make a mistake, and gets upset when I goof and have to frog. I will tell him that even wonderful knitters like you mess up on occasion. We are human after all.

  121. I would have a very difficult time knitting a blanket with a Hudson Bay Blanket staring at me. It’s the blanket by which I judge all blankets. ❤️

  122. Thanks from England. I also was checking daily as my knitting mojo has left and I though it was just me. Everyone has put into word what I cannot. But to fill the void I’ve gone all the way back to the beginning of the blog and I’m loving it all again. Thanks for all the years. With love.

  123. I think you are right – we will never be the same. Thank you for writing that – for throwing that into the black hole of 2020 (it’s not fair – there has been quite a bit of wonderful this year too). But maybe now we can put down those placards of ‘when everything goes back to normal…’
    For the US, it turns out that it has never been normal – the oppression and fear and murder of an entire people group while the rest of the country glides along cannot be what we go back to. I pray that this is the beginning of a true democracy.

  124. Hi there! I checked in hoping to see a new post. Well that’s ok that there isn’t one but I did think as I scrolled through this latest post that it is epic. Every word resonates. That being said shorter posts are fine too. I’m still anticipating the bike rally story, that should be a fun read.

    Thanks for all you do for the sanity of the blog!

    haha I get to touch the clock. That tells me to be patient!

  125. I, too, goofed while making that blanket many years ago. Picked up stitches on the wrong side but didn’t notice it for quite awhile. So there was a seam on the right side that was glaring out at me. I went to Stitches Midwest that year, found some ribbon that matched perfectly and covered up the seam. I think I even stitched my sister and brother-in-laws’ names on it–it was a wedding gift for them–and called it a design feature. I don’t think they even noticed the mistake.

  126. Dear Stephanie and Blog,
    Thank you for this. For acknowledging that these are interesting times (isn’t that the old curse: may you live in interesting times?); and for reiterating that we need kindness (including to ourselves) right now.

    Now I get to touch the sunglasses; surely an omen that tomorrow will be better, no?

  127. I hear you on the blown blanket deadline. I’m currently working on a baby blanket for a friend, and the little one is already here.

  128. We are so good at judging ourselves harshly and extending all kinds of latitude to others, aren’t we?

    I think you are right that there will never again be the “normal” from before, but there will eventually be a new “normal” and over time, we’ll become accustomed. I spent the first half of quarantine moping because “I lived through 9/11, isn’t that enough history for one lifetime?” and sometime a few weeks ago I read a post about our grandmothers, born around 1900 (mine was born 1901) who endured WW1 as teenagers, the roaring 20s, the Great Depression, WW2, the Cold War, Vietnam, Watergate (if you’re from the US), and maybe even the Reagan years and the first Gulf War depending on lifespan. Somehow, it did NOT make me want to live up to that, but it was a little perspective.

  129. A few years ago, I went through life “stuff,” the kind that many of us get in life that drop you to your knees wondering if you will ever stand again. I have found 2 podcasts that gave me some relief and understanding. 1) Terrible, Thanks for Asking. 2) Everything Happens. They were both key resources, in helping me move towards strength and renewed hope that I can have grief and joy in the same space. It is a hard journey and then it becomes a bit easier. Some of the skills I learned in those years, have helped me weather some of the pandemic.

  130. I was doing ok with being off my game this year. My part of the US actually is taking all this ::gestures offhandedly:: seriously, so things are as about as good as they can be. I am working from home still, get to go to my gym and safely see friends, and most worth all of it, I got pregnant in May with my very first baby. I am an older mama (37 on his due date) and as this was the first time I’d ever been pregnant and have always wanted a child, my husband and I were over the moon.

    And then three weeks ago, my body failed him, went into preterm labor, and he was born healthy and lovely at 22 weeks but too soon to stay with us. We are shattered. I know your family has dealt with a similar loss this year. This felt for me like he was the only thing keeping 2020 from being so overwhelmingly horrific, and then it turned out 1000 times worse than I could have imagined. I am at sea and rudderless, and I kind of don’t care or know how to get back to shore.

    I can’t knit. I can barely read. I am only eating vegetables because amazing friends got me some vegan meals that they stuck in my freezer.

    I’m not sure why I’m writing all this or what I hope to get out of it. I guess, just, thank you, Stephanie, for continuing to be honest and open and transparent. We are not always ok. It’s nice to see others who are feeling in some way similar but also able to see some humor still in life.

  131. To misquote Dharma from Dharma and Greg, you are always yourself, because you are always you. You can’t be anyone else. You aren’t who you were, or who you might be. You are you.

  132. Some people are so high minded, cleaning goals? You gotta admire them. Me, my lockdown goal was not to clean ANYTHING. Other than occasionally doing laundry, I’ve continued to maintain this goal. Better than any new year’s resolution ever!

  133. Good to read you! While realizing how blessed I am, I am also almost always tired. Blessed to be working, and healthy but Zoomed out (still Zooming) and trying to remain calm and grounded around students who are one kind question away from tears. It has been hard but it has also been good (especially if I squint my eyes and tilt my head a bit). To you and the rest of the blog. Thank you!

  134. My mother and I have actually been socially distancing since September 2019. The mess of what is 2020 began for us in in November 2018 when we both caught an unknown virus. The health repercussions of that followed us through 2019 and will follow my mother for the rest of her life … My brother and sister-in-law visit us every few weeks. We have an enclosed front sun porch. We sit on one side of the glass door and they on the other. We were also thinking it might be the end of our meagre contact, and then I realized the space heater I recently purchased will do double duty. We will plug it into the outlet in the porch and continue our visits for as long as is possible. I don’t know if I will be able to tolerate a vaccine, if and when it is available, so this may be our reality for a long time yet … I’m doing my best to enjoy the big bubble we are floating in and keeping my knitting at hand. I hope you a way of continuing ongoing contact with your loved ones … they are truly what keep us going. ❤️

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