Overcoming Sock Block: In Praise of The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

“When I knit on the dark side, I go from Holy to hole, Lee . . . in like, five minutes flat.” ~Lee Bernstein~

As I made my internet rounds before leaving for work this morning, I visited The Yarn Harlot Blog.

Have you heard of The Yarn Harlot (a/k/a Stephanie Pearl-McPhee)? Most knitters have heard of her, but since I am a new knitter, she is new to me.

I am quite a fan of hers.  Stephanie is a remarkable knitter and spinner. She is also a gifted blogger, speaker, author, and more.

Stephanie writes knitting humor. 

Yes, I said knitting humor

I’m serious.  Just read her books, and you’ll get it.  If you knit, I promise you’ll laugh as you read.

My favorite book so far: At Knit’s End: Meditations for Women who Knit Too Much

So, I go to The Yarn Harlot blog today to find that Stephanie has written all about how she just up-and-knit a full-size sock in only one day. She also posted beautiful photos of the finished pair of socks, thereby reminding me that if I don’t get some photos up here soon, I’ll turn into a blogging bore.

You’ll find the blog post here — you’ll need to scroll down until you find the date August 18: http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2010_08.html

As you’ll see if you visit her blog, the yarn she used caused her socks not to match entirely, but that’s another matter.  SHE KNIT A SOCK IN A DAY!  Freaking fabulous.

This raised my appreciation of Stephanie to a whole new level.

Aside from master instructor Nenah Galati (I’ll be writing about her knitting DVDs in a blog to come), I don’t know if this blog has other sock knitters on it. 

Heck, I don’t even know if this blog has any serious readers on it – is there anyone out there today? My stats show that tons of people are looking, but please post a comment so I’ll know if it is true.

Anyway, if you are not a sock knitter, let me tell you: knitting a sock takes some time.

The sock I’m currently working on has almost as many stitches as a oversize prayer shawl I made for my oldest daughter.  (Yeah, yeah, yeah, photo to come.) 

This sock is giving me grief (darn it, yes, photo to come). 

Not because it isn’t enjoyable.

Not because it takes time.

Not for lack of excellent instruction (Nenah taught me). 

Rather, the grief comes from my lack of concentration. 

You see, lately I’ve been knitting at the end of the day, right after I get home from work, before dinner . . . 

That’s my tired, wind-down time, and when I combine knitting with winding down on an empty stomach, I drift into a world where the devil sits on my shoulder and makes me drop stitches.   (Later, he’ll also try to tempt me to eat too much.)

When I knit on the dark side, I go from Holy to hole, Lee . . . in like, five minutes flat.  

Other times, when sock knitting is going more smoothly, it seems as though the sock is taking forever, even when I’m not making mistakes.

Every morning, I wake up looking forward to the time I will spend knitting before the day is over. This morning was different, though. My struggles with my mistakes had me thinking about skipping my sock tonight.

Yarn Harlot to the rescue! Stephanie’s post about knitting a sock in a day reminded me how things in life improve if only a person keeps trying. She gave me the courage to continue. 

You see, Stephanie hasn’t always been able to knit a sock in a day.  In her books, she writes about how knitting can become a black hole where your work never progresses, no matter how much you knit.

How I can relate!

Stephanie: Thank you for knowing me so well. Thank you understanding me. Thank you for becoming such a dear, sweet, personal friend.

Well, no.  Stephanie has no clue who I am, BUT she understands knitters, which means she understands me, and that’s a blessing.

Why? Because Stephanie helps me laugh at my mistakes. 

So, I decided to dedicate tonight’s blog to Stephanie.  I am also thanking her directly, on her blog.  I am writing this to her in response to It’s a bird, it’s a plane, which is her knit-a-sock-in-a-day blog post:


Thank the heavens, you have given me hope.

My next move: Touch hands to cheeks (the FACE ones) then open palms and raise arms in glory while swinging them around my head like a crazy person, chanting: Praise be to The Yarn Harlot! Note: If I do this in a U.S. southern accent, it will probably work even better.

Okay, Stephanie . . . your post came at just the right time.

For the last stinkin’ week I’ve spent more time knitting backwards than forwards. I don’t know why, but when I turn the heel of a sock, my brain fights me every step of the way.

I mean, for Pete’s sake, knitting a sock is not all THAT darn difficult. All it takes is a little concentration . . . the problem is, there’s a sock devil out there, lurking, smirking and testing my will.

But thanks to you, I now have all good faith that I’ll eventually be able to knit a pair of socks in a month (forget the day thing for now) — and that I’ll knit them forwards, not backwards.



Since I’m a strong advocate for paying good things forward, I’m posting this for any fellow stitch droppers out there.  I hope that if you, too, get frustrated with knitting mistakes, you’ll find The Yarn Harlot and learn about the wonderful woman who can make you smile in spite of it all. 

PS:  I know I promised a post about how knitting helped me cope with liviing gluten free.  It’s coming. Right now, though, I’ve been too busy knitting, dropping stitches . . . and laughing about it. 

Off to knit that sock . . .

Love to all,

Find and write to Lee on Ravelry:
User Name: LeeBernstein
Visit the Knitting Is Gluten Free Forum on Ravelry — GREAT discussions here, including loving support for people with food intolerances . . . and tons of recipes.
Facebook: Fans of Knitting is Gluten Free
Twitter: Lee_A_Bernstein
LinkedIn: Lee Bernstein

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7 Responses to Overcoming Sock Block: In Praise of The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

  1. needlebeetle says:

    Enjoyed this. How’d it go at stitches?

  2. Thank you! I’m working on a Stitches post now . . . with luck, it’ll even have photos. It was great. I wish I had a million dollars.

  3. Lisa says:

    I am really enjoying your blog. I knit too much, have to watch what I eat… so I totally relate. Thanks.

    • It’s great to have you here, Lisa. Thank you for your kind words.

      Thank goodness knitting is calorie-free, too!

      If you’re interested in more interactive discussion, I’ve also started a forum at Ravelry.com. To join, just go to Ravelry.com and, under forums, search for Knitting Is Gluten Free.

  4. Pingback: Congratulate Me, I Just Gave Birth to a SOCK! | KNITTING IS GLUTEN FREE

  5. Bookmarked, I love your blog! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Sock Enters The Deathly Hallows | KNITTING IS GLUTEN FREE

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