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Dear friends,

I know it’s been almost a month since I last wrote, but when I tell you how I’ve been feeling lately you’ll see it’s a miracle that I’m writing at all. No cause for alarm–I’m not ill or in the hospital.

I just can’t sit still.

We are now well into summer. Paris is so far north that the days are shockingly long, with traces of daylight lingering until almost ten o’clock at night. The weather is warm, the windows are open, and it feels like the whole world is out for a perpetual stroll.

I have ants in my pants. I spin in my desk chair, tap my fingers on the work table, stare at the rather magnificent roof terrace across the courtyard wondering when the neighbors will invite me over for a drink. Should I hang a sign in the window? APÉRO DEMAIN CHEZ VOUS? DRINKS TOMORROW, YOUR PLACE?

What even is the point of having a roof terrace in Paris if you are not inviting me over to use it?

Who am I? For years it was almost impossible to get me out of the house. The word “no” has been my best friend. No, I do not want to come to the party, the concert, the baseball game, or brunch. And that was before the pandemic.

Yesterday, I went to buy a bar of soap at the market around the corner. It took two hours. Two minutes to buy the soap, one hundred eighteen minutes to take the soap on an outing that ended up in a cute café near the Tuileries. 

My brain is, if anything, more unsettled than my body. Remember how frightened I was when culture shock jangled my nerves to the point that I couldn’t knit? Well, I’ve bounced back so hard they could hear the boing in Toulouse.

In fact, the problem now is that I can’t pin down what to knit or how to knit it. 

There’s been a flurry of finishing. The stash-busting granny square lap blanket is ready to cuddle, though it did leave far more stash unbusted than I’d hoped.

And I’m proud to have completed this nineteenth-century lace shoulder shawl; I translated and adapted the pattern as a token of  thanks to my Patreon patrons.

Late Blooming Cherry Shawl

The dollhouse (the subject of my next book) has its sitting room carpet (another nineteenth century pattern) after two years of on-and-off stitching.

The teeny tiny maid wants a teeny tiny carpet sweeper. (For more about this project, visit

The workroom itself is nearly finished, unto and including stripping the last of the eleven coats of paint off the door from the library, and hanging on it this extremely cool lithograph of a “mercerie ambulante,” a wandering seller of sewing supplies.

The oldest door in the apartment, probably from the eighteenth century. The landlady discovered it hidden inside the wall.

I even got my new summer wardrobe well begun with a waistcoat in linen and cotton, cool enough for even the hottest days.

Waistcoat pattern from Vanessa Mooncie’s The Gentleman’s Wardrobe.

Now what?

I can’t decide. I would like to do some more lace–but I can’t pick a yarn. I need to knit the second sock of the pair I wrote about in my last letter–but it’s a second sock. I’ve got to add some knitted waistcoats to my closet–but this pile of yarn (lovely Shetland wool from my neighborhood yarn shop, Les Tricoteurs Volants) …

… has already been, I kid you not, eleven swatches and two false starts. Now, as you see, they are once again a pile of yarn. I’ve knit for long stretches of every day–only to have nothing at all to show for it.

The panic from this has been almost as intense as the panic from not being able to knit, and for the same reason. Knitting is my job. Needlework is my job. I have to do my job.

The trouble is, instead of not wanting to knit at all, I now want to knit everything all at once. And sew everything all at once. And crochet everything all at once. And embroider … you get the idea.

My new home is exactly what I’ve always wanted: a charming space  in a beautiful city. And instead of gasping for inspiration, inspiration is everywhere, endlessly.

It’s only in the past two days that I’ve realized that my brain is so unaccustomed to happiness that the sensation is actually frightening. I don’t know what to do with it. Excitement is so unfamiliar to me that it’s confusing. I’m used to my mind playing tricks on me, but that’s a new one.

Today, after I sign off, the yarn goes back on the needles. Maybe I’ll take it over to the Tuileries. (The bar of soap really liked the Tuileries.)

I think this latest episode is like the culture shock–the only way to deal with it is by moving forward. It won’t be the first time I’ve knit my way to a calmer state of mind. Maybe you know the feeling?



About The Author

Franklin Habit has been sharing his brainy and hilarious writing and illustrations with the knitting world since 2005.


  • Dear Franklin,
    I should have your problems! Enjoy!!

    • Whatever you do— don’t stop writing!

  • You have no idea how much I look forward to your missives from Paris. Whilst my new non-US home is not as exciting as Paris, Stamford UK has its many charms and I am determined to uncover them all. Thank you for always inspiring.

    • Carol – Stamford is a charming town. Are they holding the Georgian Festival this autumn?

  • Your letters are delightful, Franklin! Knitting is my “go to” when I need some calm in my life!

  • I so enjoy your letters, Franklin. I am intrigued with Mr. Foxe and Mr. Boxe and have bookmarked the site so I can read all the posts. The book will be a “must have.”

  • I’m so happy that you’re being inspired by joy. One way to knit all of the things would just be to buy more of the yarn?!

    • I love reading about your adventures in Paris! How lovely that joy is so present in your life. I have been feeling the same way, I want to knit, sew, crochet everything these days!

  • Happiness and bliss suit you and thanks for spreading it around-Enjoy!

  • You paint such beautiful word pictures I wish I could just magically jump in to your world! I love hearing of your latest adventures and appreciate the beautiful photos. You’re a treasure!

  • It’s lovely to see so many finished projects, completed with an air of joy rather than the weight of meeting a deadline…love the shawl and hoping my knitting skills are equal to it.

  • I know the feeling …..

    • Hoping all your finished projects get me moving!

      The neighbors do not know what they are missing!

  • Love the lap blanket and the shawl, but OH, that waistcoat! What a work of art! I have reviewed the characters in FOXE and BOXE, and decided I want to be Enid. Your imagination and creativity are amazing! Oh, and what does that discovered door lead to … ???

  • Congratulations on building a happy and creative life in your amazing new home! Thank you for sharing the journey with us. All of these finished projects are beautiful, but the waistcoat is stunning! Have a fabulous summer.

  • Hi, Franklin,
    I can identify with your dilemma. We moved at Christmas time to Buffalo, MN to be closer to famly and better medical care. The changed environment brought much needed stress relief on one account but then created more stress as new health challenges struck. Panic set in and all I wanted to do was sit and knit everything to calm the nerves and resettle the mind into a more positive space.

    To accomodate the jangling of the nerves, I decided the best thing I could do was to return to meditation. I began to think of my time knitting as meditation and that slowed the antsiness. So give it a try. Grab a nince cup of tea. Then as you sit down to knit, take a deep breathe in, hold it for 10 seconds and then breathe out more slowly that you took the in breathe. Do this a couple of times and then set an intention for the knitting of the day. Sip some tea and appreciate all the physical sensation it brings to you. Now you should be steady and ready for a productive time knitting. Above all, enjoy the physicality of knitting; the rhythmic motion of your hands, the feel of the yarn as it passes along, etc.

    Have blessed day,
    Nancy D

    • Bless you, Nancy! I’m glad to hear that someone else “out there “ shares the exact same knitting meditation that I do. The cup of tea ☕️, I will pay more attention now to the physical sensation my tea brings me. Ty! The wonderful deep breathing, very important and feels so good . I love the physicality and process of knitting, especially knitting simple garter stitch. The feel of the yarn makes me happy . I pray your getting relief and healing these summer days

  • Oh, Franklin, to be in Paris when it sizzles❤️

  • I love your letters from Paris and that it’s happiness that you have to figure out how to manage. Mazel tov!

  • I’m in the same situation. It always happens when I finish a project. The problem is I’m trying to only use my dwindling stash-yarn and paper from ages ago that now I can finally do since retired.(hurrah).

  • I think I couldn’t get anything done but stare at that lovely terrace! Beautiful work by the way, on everything you have done!

  • It’s oddly marvelous that you are so happy it’s actually quite debilitating. Such fancy problems! Enjoy!

  • I feel swept away in your maelstrom of happiness. No wonder you are disoriented. I can’t wait to see what bit of flotsam you grasp to carry you to calmer waters.

  • Ce châle est merveilleux. I love the colors.

  • Thank you for the bright start to my day, Franklin! Always a pleasure! I find that I sometimes am stricken “craft anxiety”. So many projects and so little time!!!! I joke with friends that when I die there will be one great tag sale. There will be much delight…and astonishment….among attendees over the glorious yarn, fabric, and painting supplies.

  • Franklin, you have brightened my day. Thank you!

  • Dear Franklin, you inspire me, well, probably most of us, sharing your adventures and explorations both in- and external. The stepping off the edge, uprooting your life, driven by some irresistible force, appears to have (please pardon my forwardness) freed you to, as Mary Oliver said, “save the only life you could save.” You speak of happiness. I hear and see joy.
    You have my gratitude and admiration. Thank you for sharing your journey with us. You do us a solid.

  • you deserve to be happy…and I am so glad that you are…thank you for continuing to blog

  • Franklin, your writing is such a treasure for MDK. It is glorious and warmly inviting. I love peeking into your world as you grapple with this adrenaline high. I just LOVE that feeling when it strikes. It’s like a confusing fusion of creativity and endorphins that requires space, sun, interaction, exploration and lots of mental skipping down the street. Good wishes to you as you ride this wonderful bubbly wave. I read your impossibly-brilliant and captivating dollhouse site. I so want to live in that little place and see and hear all of the shenanigans that transpire. The crochet lap blanket is perfectly blended with all of the colors I would never be drawn to until I see them combined just this way into a lovely piece of art. As always, thank you for your article.

  • ❤️ your letters, Franklin!

  • I just returned from Paris last night! The evenings beckoned for long walks and it was such a shame to be inside any time from 7am to at least 11pm. I spent part of the last day with my daughter and her friend in a Stranger Things exhibit/pop up store and then a cafe in the Tuilleries Garden. It was the best day of my trip as these two young women head to college in 2 months and we all marveled at the surroundings and being able to share it together! Second was a quick trip to Montmartre to look at fabric!
    Your finished projects look fabulous. And the carpet is exquisite.
    Thank you for capturing and sharing your Paris experiences with us. I’m already planning my next trip to Paris.

  • I’m so glad that you’re happy!

  • You are such an inspiration, Franklin. Just knowing that the kind of happiness you have right now is possible makes me smile. I’m so pleased for you and so grateful you share your life and your craft with us. All the FOs you showed us in your post are so beautiful!

  • I do know that feeling but mine is not necessarily joy at the moment – just overwhelmed by life. Usually I knit when these days happen but right now I can’t seem to get anything on the needles that I want and like to knit. I finished a sock that was horrible so I won’t do the second. Started another and can’t get it to go (pattern takes extreme concentration), so I am unraveling a sweater to reknit the yarn and even that is not going well – it is all coming out in clumps. It has to be the summer vibes that is causing all of this!

  • So very very glad to see/read that you are happy in your new environs … The City of Light. Truly.
    Living vicariously through you (and yes … that light until 10 pm is so disconcerting at times … though an antidote to ‘no sun until 9 am in the winter …’)

    • I so enjoyed reading your post and I am inspired by your enthusiasm. The waistcoat is absolutely gorgeous, as is the shawl. I envy your living in Paris – what a magical city! Looking forward to hearing more about your adventures and projects.

    • Franklin you have no idea how much I look forward to your postings! I am obsessed with dollhouses and can’t wait to hear more! The carpet is gorgeous!

  • What beauty you have surrounded yourself with and have created with you hands. I am so happy that you are in this delightful time.

  • Franklin, YOUR happiness makes ME happy!!! Merci, merci, Merci for your delightful letters, perspective, and great views for my mind’s eye.

  • Your letters from Paris are truly inspiring! Thank you so much.

  • So much love for this! Be exuberant!

  • Thank you for the insight of what it’s like to be real! I am familiar with this dilemma of being so inspired I want to do it all. Happiness is a delightful companion to explore with….here’s a toast to your continued happiness! Cheers!

  • Always enjoy your missives, Franklin.

  • my knitting buddy (Seattle) and I (Sarasota, FL) were just texting back and forth that we need 10 arms to simultaneously knit ALL THE THINGS at the same time. I have had nervous energy as well. I moved across country but it’s been 18 months now (been in my house for 10 months) and I should feel settled now. But there is a sense of anticipation in the air that I cannot put my hands on.

  • That dollhouse was a charming rabbit hole to get lost down – and before breakfast, no less. Thanks for a delightful start to my day.

  • What you are experiencing is not “ants in the pants”, it is your happy dance. Enjoy. The finished projects look great. Now you need something new, but indecision strikes. For some knitting that will calm the mind and help you feel like you are getting something done, MDK’s own Kay would recommend a dishcloth or two. An evening or two knitting such, with M. Mimmi purring on you lap, will give you a bit of thinking room in which to ponder larger projects (and their solutions). Good luck!

  • Love love love that Bio Shetland in violet (hope it’s parma) from Les Tricoteurs Volants!!! Had to track it down in the US & grow my stash! It’s one of my very most favorite colors – and heathered just so. I love reading your letters from Paris, thanks so much for sharing them with us, Franklin.

  • Thank you so much for these letters. It is wonderful that you are enjoying summer in Paris and allowing all of us to share the experience.

    Maybe you could introduce yourself to the neighbors with a small handwritten note/drawing thanking them for the inspiration their garden has provided. Who would not want to meet someone so creative?

    And that second sock might be the knitting in need of an outing. I have found that there is often a reason my new projects are not working out; they just are not “ready”. Something needs to click in my mind. Focusing on something pragmatic and practical leaves other parts of my mind free to brainstorm around new ideas.

  • Franklin, My niece and I love your columns, me for the beautiful knit and crochet projects and she for your move to Paris. Keep the writings coming.

  • That waistcoat is spectacular!

    Wear it with great joy!

  • I just left my heart in the Marais, in front of a store window displaying a cropped knit cream sweater with maybe ten different stitch patterns, and a long, matching skirt…now I want to abandon the three sweaters on the needles and swatch for that amazing sweater…no way I’m knitting a long skirt! Thanks for sharing your Paris with us!

  • I am glad to hear you are feeling so good. Hooray for finding one’s way home, whatever that may mean. 🙂

  • Your completed projects are stunning, your way with words is amazing and boy, I do hope you get to enjoy drinks on that lovely terrace very soon! Thank you, Franklin for this treat and much happiness to you!

  • So glad you are happy, so sad it’s not normal. But it sounds like it is becoming normal and that’s a very good thing.

  • I love Paris and inspiration is everywhere. Although not in Paris, I feel the same urge to knit everything. Four projects on needles now. Oh my!

  • I should like to read about the Bar of Soap’s day at the Tuileries, perhaps a new character?

  • Dear Franklin –
    I am so enjoying your notes from Paris. You have brought a huge smile to my face picturing the traveling soap (I would enjoy the Tuileries as well, so your soap has excellent taste). Thank you!

  • Oh wonderful letter. So good to hear from you! (Actually I do follow you on Instagram.) So happy for you, and lucky us. When can we see you sporting that waistcoat? Did I miss it? Love you Franklin.

  • Even your writing was read in a rushed manner by me! I have been in the same state for several
    months, but feel that I may be emerging. Getting back to knitting after this weird “hiatus” will feel great, and after 66 years of knitting for everyone but me, I think I’ll work on something for me. I feel comfortable with that decision for the first time ever now.
    Please, write more soon! I love your missives!

  • I enjoy your writing, posts and creative work. You are very talented and inspiring. Take care!

  • Franklin, your joy of living in Paris absolutely shines in your posts. Though I know you only from social media and reading these letters, your joy brings me joy. So thank you for sharing with us

    As for your “ants in the pants”, my great-gran was fond of saying “If you’ve ants in your pants dance them out!” Which is exactly what you’re doing with your walks and explorations 🙂

    Love your finished projects. I find if I finish a lot of things around the same time, I get really excited to start more things but then suffer the indecision you’re experiencing. But one project you start will catch the right combination without warning and then another will, and another, until you’re back to several WIPs that all provide you with a sense of accomplishment.

    As always I look forward to your next letter 🙂

  • Love the tiny rug and the waistcoat. Hell, love all of it. Your Paris stories make me remember my years in Paris.

  • So happy for you.

  • Franklin, I love to read about your adventures! It’s wonderful to hear that you’re now in a place where happiness is knocking at your door. Sounds as if it’s been a long time coming. Indeed, it is well deserved.
    The finished objects that you show
    here are creative, sophisticated, and so very beautiful! Thanks for sharing these parts of yourself with us!

  • It is unsettling when one starts feeling things again! I was unknowingly depressed for many years, and therefore numb. When I finally got diagnosed and treated, actual feelings began to emerge. It was scary. Glad you‘re feeling better! And yes, you‘ll settle soon.

  • I think what you have is contagious- going around. I’ve spent the last few weeks swatching and undoing in the search for THE project to use my stash. Frenetic work. Fingers crossed we both find the definitive piece with which to express ourselves.

  • Take the yarn to Tuileries – you, your great wardrobe, and that beautiful yarn should be seen! (I am only just ever so jealous)

  • the buttonholes on your waistcoat are GORGEOUS-bound buttonholes, right? I once long ago learned how to make them . . .

  • Your letters make me so happy- like, the living a dream come to life. And recognizing that, as your living it. A gift not often granted. Well done!

  • I was just thinking that we had not heard from you in “too long”. Thank you for a few moments in Paris!

  • I’m so happy that you are so happy! ❤️

  • Awesome! It sounds to me that you are in love! Run with it ! Enjoy grab all you can. ❤️Been there ❣️

  • Thank you for infecting us with joy! Your openness to witnessing, appreciating, and creating what is beautiful is inspiring, and after a pandemic pause in knitting, music, and most reading, I hear my needles calling me.

  • So glad to feel the joy in your writing, Franklin.

  • Love your letters! So well written. Feel like I am there with you.

  • This was such a delight to read. The photos and the prose are both rich with joy and beauty.

  • Please allow yourself to enjoy the happiness you are feeling! It is totally ok to be happy and you DESERVE it. À bientôt!

  • Dear Franklin, So happy for you in Paris! I have never been but hope to in the near future! Was it difficult to move there?

  • You give me hope that maybe someday I can be happy again.

  • Makes my heart sing to hear of your new state of happiness. May it be never ending

  • I love your writing and envy your circumstances.

  • So very happy for you!

  • The sign: just make it “chez moi” and then they find you charming and funny and come over only once and then invite you constantly to theirs because it’s so much more comfortable.

    Thanks for this missive, I hope your fever is not *all* vitamin D overdose, I’m trying to remember to finally get one of those grow lights for people for the winter this year.

  • Wait, wait, I take back what I said about the sign. Yarn bomb your balcony. Write a message in fillet crochet (you’ll think of something clever and flattering to say as you start the setup rows… like ‘balconies are made for sharing’ or ‘drinks are better with fiber artists’ or ‘only the most wonderful people fill their lives with plants’).

  • Love your waistcoat!! Keep knitting. You’ll get there. And I love your writing.

  • I’m so happy that your sharing your happiness with us! Your projects are brilliant and so beau beautiful. I love your granny square blanket, oh, the colours are so pretty! Your waistcoat is simply divine, love the butttons. I hope you’ll get a chance to shout a Bonjour with your beautiful garden neighbors when they’re outside on their deck! I also love what another person suggested, crochet a message in filet stitch, yarn bomb your place. They surely don’t have any idea what they’re missing! Au revoir, dear Franklin . Peace ✌️

  • Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Franklin, no matter where you live, it is wonderful and inspiring to hear how much life is bringing you this amazing joy. And creativity. Thank you for sharing your life with us. Dreams do come true. We are witnessing this through you.

  • I do enjoyed this column
    You are a marvel
    Love love your waistcoat, great colorway
    Looking forward to your next letter

  • I am so happy that you are happy!

  • I’m so happy to see you so happy!

  • I LOVE your letters! Please don’t ever stop writing them.

  • Mr Habit, I save all your Letters in my MDK account. Would that they offered a virtual ribbon with which to wrap them.

    But I have a nagging question… where is fair Rosamund?

  • “unaccustomed to happiness that the sensation is actually frightening.” This line!

  • I love Franklin’s letters from Paris. He should also put them together and make a book out of them. (Soon to be announced?????)
    Some of the comments apply to everything and everyone. Everyone has felt lost, confused, at odds and ends, not known how to start, etc., etc.
    Thank you Franklin.

  • Was really surprised to learn that the Viennese expect the newcomer to make the first move in terms of introductions. Perhaps developed over the centuries as a way to preserve one’s own privacy in a crowded metropolis. Otherwise, they would be invading your space, which would be considered rude and intrusive. This way it’s left to you to determine, at your pace and comfort level. Maybe it’s the same in Paris?

  • I can totally relate to this….accept that I am not in Paris, but instead in Southern California. I am also in a flurry to finish things before I take on anything new, but keep getting sidetracked on figuring out what new pattern I will take on while stash busting. Your piece made me smile.

  • Merci Franklin….I love your writings and I agree that you should definately be invited to that lovely rooftop garden for drinks, isn’t that what rooftop gardens are for… new friendships and great conversations while sipping wine? I sympathize with your laments on wanting to do it all….I just bought 3 lovely skeins of yarn, all different color combinations, all wound, and ready to create and I can’t bring myself to start. Personally, I think I just love seeing them sitting on my table …..all pretty and full of promise. Maybe I’ll just have a glass of wine and contemplate……

  • I so look forward to your updates. I drove 15 miles for ice cream yesterday without using my GPS. It’s not Paris but only a simple midwestern adventure. Thanks for your inspiration for new experiences.

  • I am so happy for Franklin, I’m even a bit happier for me being able to share his appreciation of the Frankish life.

  • I humbly submit that working the second sock might be calming? I avoid second sock syndrome by immediately casting on the second one once I’ve bound off the first. Having the yarn already on my needles helps me be motivated to pick it up and keep going. I also don’t consider my project complete without having two socks – and an incomplete project is tying up my project bag preventing me from casting on something new! It’s a conundrum best avoided by not leaving my needles empty..,

    I love seeing all your finished projects – so amazing and inspiring! Grab the yarn and go out, I say!

  • Your granny blanket is brilliant ❣️

    • The bar of soap enjoyed the Tuileries. 😀
      Best comment ever!

  • I agree with the poster who said it sounds like you’re in love! Thanks for sharing the whirling feeling!

  • Your joyful predicament is a wonderful event-mazel tov! I look forward to your new works

  • Oh my . . . your explorations, your knitting ( or swatching ! ), your writing makes my heart sing! Enjoy it all!

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