From now on

I Stephanie, do solemnly swear that I will, commencing today (just as soon as I have a second third cup of coffee) make the following changes in my life.

1. I will persist, (following the advice of my generous readers), in knitting a third MSF mitten, even though third mitten syndrome is an execrable opponent.


Moreover, I will knit this third mitten with the full knowledge that I may not possess enough of the discontinued “Old Kroy” to do so. Should the time come that I do in fact, run out of yarn, I will gleefully and without bitterness cannibalize one of it’s predecessors for the required yarn, and still try to feel good about knitting three mittens….though I only have two.

2. I will stop slacking on said mitten, and instead of allowing myself to be tempted away from this noble cause by the trollop mohair shawl… or the present for Lene (of which there shall be no picture, lest we spoil the surprise), or the fleece artist socks, or that green sweater that I started the last time the mittens made my teeth itch. I will knit the mitten without cease until it is finished.

3. Should I find this impossible, or should the mitten bore me enough that I start to think about taking the mitten in progress, the yarn and it’s agitator comrades over to the corner and chewing them into an unrecognizable fibrous mass while cursing thumbs and evil overlords everywhere….I will instead atone by knitting on Tuppers mittens,


which remain, sadly…unfinished. (though I can assure you, with the utmost sincerity that I have checked the thumb placement very, very carefully) This act, while it will not help the cause of the Mitaines Sans Frontières but will relieve some of the burning, sombre shame that I feel at having abandoned them when this whole Knitters Without Borders thing got much, much bigger than I ever thought possible.

4. I will immediately stop pretending that I am “cleaning” the closets/rooms/boxes/basement where I keep the stash. Everyone knows that I don’t clean anything and that I am, in fact, simply perusing the stash in a desperate attempt to find something else to knit that is as pressing. Instead of engaging in this pathetic and transparent attempt to get out of knitting the third mitten (wow…makes your head pound a little just typing that) I will stop trying to plan my knitterly escape, and knit on the mitten.

5. Further to article #4. I will clean something. I don’t yet know what that might be, but as part of this series of oaths, I swear that I will put swabbing the kitchen floor near the top of the list so that the cat doesn’t get stuck down to it. Also…I will visit Mr. Washie and do some laundry. No matter how big my real job is, no matter how pressing the deadlines, no matter how upsetting the mittens, I do acknowledge that when your teenage daughter is desperately trying to find a clean pair of pants in the house and inquires about the availability of said item…that a loving, caring mother could probably come up with a better/more sympathetic response than asking, in the most exasperated and frustrated way possible, with that vein on her forehead bulging… “Do I look like I’ve got your clean pants up my arse?”

6. I will give away lots of thank you gifts on the blog so that the pain of knitting a third mitten is tempered by the joy of watching people get good stuff. ( I have emailed the winners)

Good stuff:

Heather has very generously donated a $20 gift certificate to Elann and it will be going to…(drumroll? Just one of these times I’d like there to be a drumroll) Eileen H.

Lynne in Australia has come up with a wee bling bag, she’ll be sending it all the way to the very lucky Jessica W

Jean has very generously offered her beautiful blue/purple handspun yarn


and Michelle L. will be enjoying it!

Lori has spun some amazing yarn with feathers (seriously, it’s very cool…go look)

and my handy dandy random number generator says that it’s going to live with Beth E.

Laura works at a yarn shop. (Can you imagine? I would be so bankrupt if I worked at a yarn shop.) and she’s very generously offered 2 skeins of Noro Kureyon, knitters choice of what she has available. Christina C. will be doing the choosing.

Hayley, owner of the Knitomatic shop here in Toronto, has generously offered this:


In case you can’t tell, that’s cashmere, and right now it sucks to be anybody but Elizabeth F. ’cause she just won it.

Elizabeth, bless her little heart, has decided that she can part with this skein of Noro Big Kureyon.


We hope it will be very happy in it’s new home with Jane (which Jane? The Jane who got an email. Check your inboxes…all you Janes)


7. I will immediately cease and desist with the coveting of my fellow knitters thank you gifts. I will repeat the mantra “I have a lot of yarn” 200 times, and then I will spin, (because it is Tuesday) and knit the mittens until the completely predictable urge to keep all of this stuff passes.

(PS. A special thanks to Cynthia, who sent me Peets coffee. How did I not know about Peets? How I ask you? Do we have this in Canada? I’m drinking it now, and I want you to know that my life was shallow and empty before I knew this joy. Thanks Cynthia!)

70 thoughts on “From now on

  1. Hi..exactly what old kroy are you using? I have a stash of kroy oddments and might have a bit that matches. Let me know the colour and dye lot, etc. and I will check.

  2. I, Laurie, faithfully promise not to lament that all these yummy prizes are going to other deserving souls.

  3. Dearest Harlot,
    Re: #5
    I have been doing my own laundry since I was 10. When I visit my father, I do the family’s laundry. Hint, hint.

  4. WOW-those are some mighty fine gifts. (I will not pout, I will not pout…) Congrats to the winners-and I am typing this wearing my TSF tee. Yeah to all of us! Pssst…its FEBRUARY!!

  5. Teenagers should certainly be able to do laundry, particularly if they are going to be fussy about when stuff gets washed.
    I have also found that smaller children sometimes enjoy mopping the kitchen floor. I blame it on my daughter’s gay ‘uncles’ but she learned to do this while visiting them at the age of 4 and now insists on doing it in our house. Can you maybe train Hank? and look after him again.
    Have fun spinning.

  6. Wow, you’re only on your third cup of coffee? Or is that your third pot of coffee?
    My DH–an incredibly meticulous man–made a very huge and silly mistake on a woodworking project yesterday. I soothed his wounded pride by telling him the story of the MSF mittens. He thanks you.

  7. Thank you Stephanie that you alway max out my day with generosity and laughter. May the mitten that shall match another and Tuppers glide effortlessly off your needles of love.

  8. Ah…Peet’s…a coffee lover’s dream. Wonderful dark, deep, dreamy thick java…it’s a US thing, but is available by internet (hint…hint…)
    Enjoy, Steph — should keep you going for at least another 3 mittens!

  9. Hooray!! Thank you thank you thank you Hayley and Stephanie for such a wonderful and exciting gift!

  10. Hm. Sounds like Nina is offering to come help with laundry. I’d jump on that.
    I’m coveting a little. I think it’s not too sinful to covet only in your heart, ala Jimmy Carter, right?

  11. I definitely second the notion that teenagers should be doing their own laundry. I started doing my own laundry when I was 9. Show them the dirty laundry pile, soap, and Mr. Washie, and insist they all become good friends.
    I also have some “old school” Kroy, and would be happy to help if you run short (of course, then you’d be stuck with Lone Mitten syndrome).

  12. thank you – thank you – thank you Stephanie and Heather! You have made my day :-D
    …and I happen to have a drumset in my basement, so I’ll have my son give me a little drumroll in your honor ;-)

  13. Amen to the teenagers and the development of laundry and cleaning skills. If you ask your daughter’s friends, you will most likely find that most of them are already know Mr. Washie on a first-name basis.
    Congratulations to all of the gift recipients. May many lovely hours be spent in their use.
    In the spirit of all mantras being recited today:
    1) I will not wish for the mittens
    2) I will not wish for the mittens
    3) I will not wish for the mittens
    4) I will not wish for the mittens
    5) I will not wish for the mittens
    You get the idea.

  14. D’amico is fabulous and about a 5 minute walk from my apartment. In addition, Porto Rico,, has extremely wonderful, extremely cheap coffee (including organic/shade-grown/fair trade) and is a very short subway ride away.
    Do you get the sense I’d love for you to visit?

  15. Ok- I am suddenly tense – I mean -which mitten are you making? Will the braid be going in the correct direction? I cant take any more surprises! I fear my stress level over the mittens is more than warranted- but I suddenly feel very vested! Best,best of luck.

  16. At least she didn’t ask for clean underwear! Have the girls not made friends with Mr. Washie yet? That would relieve you of some of the burden. And the cat can learn to mop the floor. There are more important things in life.

  17. I’ve been doing my own laundry ever since I started riding horses at the age of 10 or 8 or something like that. Apparently cleaning up horse shit disqualifies you from having your mother do laundry…fortunately I’ve got Graig now. He knows that if he doesn’t do the laundry I’ll start pilfering his jeans/underwear/tshirts (in that order). Lest ye think this is unfair of me, let it be known that Graig has also pilferred from me:
    And Steph…knitting a third mitten when thumb snipping would’ve worked qualifies as either SERIOUS procrastination or SERIOUS fear of snipping thumb holes.

  18. Way to go Harlot!
    In honour of fifty per-cent more Latvian-mitten-knitting, I am going to donate fifty per-cent more to MSF.
    Aara, who’s perfectly ok with not winning anything….yet.

  19. Are you sure you’re not just subconsciously dragging out the mitten knitting until all the other stuff is given away, since we all know that the giving of the mittens will be the grand finale? hee hee.
    What about putting a drawstring or a little button at the cuff of the extra mitten, and a long strap, and sending someone a cute little purse? A purse that looks like a mitten, it would be lovely.
    You could even button the thumb closed on the inside and it could be a little transit token pocket! (just make sure it goes to someone living in a town whose transit system uses tokens, unlike mine where the stoooopid tickets are bigger than a dollar bill).
    As teenagers, my brother and I were not only doing laundry but cooking our own meals. Now I have to gripe like crazy just to get my boyfriend’s kids (10 and 17) to pick up their own dinner plate off the table. And all it does is make me look like a bitch, how does that happen?

  20. Dearest Harlot!
    DO NOT! I repeat _DO_NOT_ rip the wrong mitten! Look at them now! Look at them closely! Mark which mitten has the opposing symetry to the one you are currently making with a “DO NOT RIP” tag. Stick it in a sealed plastic bag if need be, but we would hate to have the mitten debaucle of ’05 repeated when you realize that you have ripped the mitten with the opposing braid symetry.
    Save us the heartache!

  21. Let us remember the children in the house who need their mother’s care and attention. We are pushing the Harlot too much. These are just mittens, after all…

  22. Post the Old Kroy color numbers and dye lot nos. and I will bet that your faithful readers can help. In fact, it could become something like throwing a potluck, which always ends up with the host(ess) left with more food than needed!

  23. Don’t anyone offer that woman more Kroy. Emmajane’s got the technique — accuse Stephanie of cowardice, play the competition card, anything to get her to just Move the Thumb. Bumper stickers: MTT on MSF!
    (or just rip back half a mitten. Crikey.)

  24. I hope you have enough yarn for all three. I can’t imagine ripping a perfectly fine (although possibly extraneous) right-hand mitten.

  25. If you love Peet’s coffee, you need to try their tea. The best. Well next to what I can get in Ireland. LOL

  26. Alas, yes, Peet’s is only in a handful of US states. I checked the website and I’m not sure if they ship to canada (via UPS I guess) but they do have a telephone number you could call. You know, they have a monthly subscription service. I know coffee is your poison, but their tea is pretty good, too. In fact, there’s 1 cup from yesterday and one cup from today sitting on my desk well away from the yarn.
    I’m willing to keep the Harlot supplied with Peet’s if such wonderful resolutions are made when you drink Peet’s. ’cause this california stinker lives within 20 minutes driving distance of THREE Peet’s. It’s a question of yarn over caffeine some days.

  27. Yes, Peet’s tea is very fine indeed. However, my day gets off to a very rocky start if there’s no coffee.

  28. But don’t you see…this is Steph’s maniacal plan to take over the world with mittens. See, *she knits another mitten, then find a mistake*, repeat from * until everyone has warm hands.
    Just think about it — MSF — Mittiens sans Fontiers (mittens without borders). Really, the doctors are just a front.

  29. Peets, Peets, Peets–I love me some Peets. I will go out of my way to find a Peets if I have any say in it. The last time I went to the Bay Area I had to do a pilgrimage to the original Peets. Now I have to say that I am a tea drinker–but that is even better. Other people might have good coffee, but there are very few places that have tea as good–they even use different temperature water for green and black teas. I (unfortunately for my wallet) hit Peets every morning on my way to work, and would be happy to feed your Peets needs any time, YH. Just let me know.

  30. OK. I will admit that there have been any number of times that I’ve suffered the light-greenness of a little Harlot-envy. But please. It is simply not fair that there are so many homes (aka MINE) that are Peets-free.
    I used to mule the stuff to us frozen Canucks by the crinkly poundful when the hub lived halftime in Montery. I was never so loved as the day I got home from a visit.
    I will go make a cup of, well, I suppose I can call it coffee, and try not to feel too bitter about the unfairness of it all. Harlot-my-Harlot does indeed deserve Peets for leading the TSF charge AND three-mittening for the greater good.
    And I will hope dilligently that freecia wasn’t kidding, and that she will put me on some secret Peets buying-racket ring. And I will offer maple goodness, President’s Choice products, snow, or anything else we have here in return.

  31. in regards to #4, i only clean when i’m procrastinating. i always think i’m doing it in an effort to ‘tidy up’ but that’s never ever the case.

  32. I’m so relieved you’re spinning for poor Joe’s gansey again. Finally. It’s about time. He’s going to be SO happy.

  33. Man, I used to bring back Peets every time I’d go to the Bay Area and now, lo and behold, they’re online. So worth it!!! I love love love Peets. Especially MAJOR DICKASON’S blend. It’s kind of like knitting with cashmere on a project for yourself.

  34. My LYS in Sydney has quite a bit of old Kroy left, 3 or 4 ply? anyhow, send me an email if you need any and I will see what colours they may have left
    (remove relevant word in address).

  35. Re: #5
    Introduce the girls to Mr. Washie. Explain that you’ve been rather selfish, but now they’re old enough to know the secret. Mr. Washie is really a water park for clothes and you’re ready to let them share the fun! And if you get Joe a pirate hat and encourage him to sing sea chanties at the top of his lungs (liberal application of Screech may be required), perhaps you can convince him to “swab the decks” in the kitchen. It worked for awhile with my oldest son (we subbed chocolate milk for Screech) when he was younger. My younger kids love the swiffery/wet-jetty things that spray cleaner on the floor and have the pads that you throw away when they get icky and disgusting (after much “mine is much grosser than yours” competition, of course).
    PS- If Joe goes for the swabbing the deck thing, I’m sure we’d all like to see photos.
    PS again- I think the 3rd mitten would make beautiful wall art if placed in a small shadow box frame, perhaps with the TSF logo on the mat. Sounds like a great addition to the prize stash.

  36. Personally I’d just gleefully rip back the bit of one mitten to the thumb part. Seems like a whole lot more work to knit a third!

  37. I was married when I was 17….so yup, I was doing laundry. 27 years later I am STILL doing laundry…only moreso.
    Not bitching though. As a stay-at-home mom, my life is pretty damn easy……lots of time for knitting!

  38. I, actually, am glad to not be winning any of these gifts. This is not for any selfless reason but mostly because I have so much homework to do that any distraction whatsoever would spell my doom.
    I’ve been cooking and doing my own laundry for longer than I care to remember and I sympathise with whoever it was talking about their kids not picking u ptheir dirty plates. My brother, a scant 4 years younger than me, has been incapable of doing ANYHTING for himself until I left for college. That’ll teach me to be a helpful child.

  39. I am willing to open bidding on the single ousted mitten at US$25!! I would think that just having one from our Sainted Yarn Harlot could impart incredible knowledge and potentially a future project to make another!!!

  40. Dear Harlot,
    Not that you need me to add my two cents, but perhaps you should also resolve to make sure that this 3rd mitten has its thumb where you want it to be so that you are not put in the position of knitting a 4th…
    The original Peets is within walking distance of my house. Those of us in the know would rather die than cross the threshold of Starbucks…
    Your blog more than usually adds light and laughter to my days.

  41. I have another option for you: activate randomizer to randomly pick from the people who suggested knitting a THIRD mitten, and send them the yarn to knit the THIRD mitten. Snort.
    I don’t know, but all three of your daughters, but most definitely the two oldest, seem to be old enough to learn how to do laundry?

  42. Hey Harlot, guess what? When I clicked your bookbookbook link to go to amazon? And they have the “Customers who bought this book also bought these?” links? Guess what was first? LATVIAN MITTENS! HA HAHA HAHAHA!!
    Oh, and from a Seattleite? Friends don’t let friends drink Starbucks.

  43. About #5?
    I was helping with the laundry by 5, (sorting, “swapping”, folding) and both my 5 year old and my 7 year old can do it. (ok. So I do most of the actual sorting, and most of the actual folding, but they pretty much do the rest.) I found it awfully daunting to try to put away the laundry for a family of 5. Just having everyone in charge of putting their own clean clothes away made it seem less… insurmountable (sp?).
    Just my 2 cents. That and about $3 should get you a latte.

  44. Is this the same “loving, caring mother” who got a “better/more sympathetic response” from her daughter when said DD was abruptly and ignominiously hauled out of a class and asked to relinguish her house keys, a few mornings ago, in order to allow her “most exasperated and frustrated” mother re-entry into the family abode?
    teenaged daughter: If your mother cannot keep her own house keys in a place that is accessible, it is quite possible that she HAS “got your clean pants up … (her) … arse”.
    Sorry YH, DD’s question just seems to be a simple, innocent question to ask.
    And it sounds like one I myself may have asked in the past. (No doubt to a very similar response.)
    My apologies to writers everywhere for the liberties I’ve taken with the quotes.
    Guess I’m just bitter about not being the *right* Jane. Sigh.

  45. Hey Stephanie
    I just wanted to say a big thankyou to you…I stumbled across your site one day last week and it’s taken me till now to catch up on your archives.
    I’ve found your tales funny and inspiring, to such a point that I spent the weekend organising everything I’ve got ‘on the needle’ and have promised myself I wont start anything else till they’re done…well maybe just little things…
    Hey….I even managed to walk by a yarn shop yesterday!
    P.S. – As to the third mitten scenario – I’d have ripped back to the thumb – but having read the complete archives in short shift I knew you’d end up going for the 3, a true sucker for punishment!!

  46. debs in PA…I’ll up that bid to $30US for that extra mitten! It’d be AWESOME hanging in my entranceway as a folk-art exhibit! (And you KNOW Steph will donate the dough…or use it to import a year’s supply of Peets, either way, I’m good with it!)
    Gals & Gents, do I hear another bid?

  47. Wait a minute. Teenaged daughter? My mom had me learning how to do the laundry at age 12…maybe this was cruel use of child labor, but at least I knew I’d have clean pants :-) Of course now that I’m grown up the laundry lives on my sofa-hamper too…
    Peets. Snif. Sob. I don’t miss Boston (I’m in Montr�al now) but I DO miss Peets. TERRIBLY. Howevah….lookee here, direct quote from Peet’s web site: “For delivery charges on international shipments please contact Customer Service at 1-800-999-2132.” That means CANADA!!! Steph! Life is good!

  48. Stephanie,
    I will generously offer to keep the ‘other’ mitten safe for you..just send it along to me and I Promise Promise Promise that I will send it to the winner of said mitten.. which of course shall be none other than .. ME!

  49. There are always pantsless kids in my house, too, no matter how often I do laundry.
    Also, I think you should put the purple stripe in mitten #3. It’d be like a purple heart, for knitwear.

  50. Ok, this gift-giving business has got to stop…unless it starts involving me. :-D
    And, may I say, I’m kind of shocked that you didn’t rip back to the thumb on Mitten #2 and reknit. It would seem to be the easier choice between ripping/reknitting or starting over completely. Which leads me to suspect that you may have secret as-of-yet-undisclosed plans for Mitten #2…no doubt, involving me. Hey, a girl can dream, no?

  51. I’m with those who pointed out that the kids need to become good friends with Mr. Washie.
    I was my own laundress from the time I was 12 or so.
    My kids (7&9) are getting in on the sorting thing. As soon as they’re tall enough to reach the buttons and safely pour liquid soap into the magic place on my front loader…. they’re doin’ their own!
    I’m also with those who suggest the purple stripe! Most Definitely! It’s likely far too late, but purple in the second braid would have been oh so nifty as well.
    Helen, off to make her second donation now….

  52. YH, I can understand you not letting the kids do the laundry. Your relationship with Mr. Washie is after all a fragile and delicate one. What if they broke him?
    And what’s wrong with the cat sticking to the floor? You’d know where it was then.
    Barb B.

  53. Don’t worry Stephanie – everything will get done bit by bit. What most needs to get done always seems to by the “deadline”, and thus, one works down the list. I am a bit overwhelmed these days myself…so, I just rent movies and knit when it gets to be too much.
    Hugs to you…


  55. what a wonderful sit to stumble onto. I still treasure your stories from the knitlist – the wedding sweaters and the rationale for stash will live forever in my heart. HOWEVER… While bowsing thru the comments I noticed someone posted that there is a store selling LATVIAN yarn. Being Latvian, I NEED TO KNOW. Please – share the info – abolins
    BTW – I’m still sniggering about Bruce, but I fondly remember when we buried a goldfish in a huge snowbank, which went ok until our dog dug up the dearly departed while the services were still underway

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