If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I am working on a second NaKniSweMo sweater. (See “Corinne has a Boyfriend”. Scroll down. It’s there.) And I am hopeful that I will finish Boyfriend before Christmas.
So…today we ran out of colored printer ink. When I looked in our office supply stash, I discovered that the last time I went to Staples I got the wrong size. No help for it; if we’re going to print free patterns we’re going to be needing that ink. Time for a Staples run.
So I gathered up the wrong-sized ink cartridges and headed across town. It’s a beautiful day here in Down Town Rockland and the fresh air and bright sunshine felt great. I pulled into my favorite parking space at the edge of the lot, in front of Staples, grabbed my bag and headed into the store. When I slung my bag in a cart, I noticed a suspicious strand of purple yarn trailing back out the door.
I know there are many, many knitters who have project bags. I am actually one of them. I have bags in all sizes and shapes, all fabrics and colors. I switch bags all the time depending on what I’m planning on carrying. But I also usually use whatever bag I’m carrying as my all purpose/project bag combo. I have my calendar and my phone, my lip balm and a pen, a measuring tape and a darning needle, some waste yarn and a pair of scissors, and at least one project…sometimes as many as three projects at a time…on the needles in the bag I’m carrying. Right now I’m working on Boyfriend. I cast on both fronts at one time so I don’t succumb to Second Sleeve Syndrome (similar to Second Sock Syndrome, that terrible weeping and gnashing of teeth when I have finished something and have to knit it again right away) which means that I have two balls of Lana D’Oro attached to my WIP. And clearly one of them had fallen out of my bag in the car and I had trailed the other end into the store.
Only a little bit panicky, I abandoned my bag in the store and ran back to the parking lot to retrieve my yarn from the car…only to find that the wind had taken a big loop of it and carried it far, far, far away. There were in fact two strands trailing away from my car, one at neck height and one at ankle height, both running the full width of the parking lot in front of three stores. And there were three women about to clothes-line themselves on this luscious trap the wind and I had set for them.
I started screaming. Yup. Screaming. “Stop! Stop! Please Stop! Don’t hurt yourself,” I cried. The woman closest to me, the one nearest to tripping and strangling, stopped, noticed the two strands of Lana D’Oro death stretched in front of her and began yelling. “What the hell! Who did this?” Well..I guess I did it, but it was mostly the wind and wholly an accident. She stepped over the bottom trip wire strand and ducked under the top garrote strand, shook her head at me, and went on in to the sporting goods store.
Then I started following the twin lines of doom. They wound past seven aisles, then made a sharp left. They drifted around tires and under bumpers of about 14 cars until finally taking another sharp left around an SUV which was trying to exit its parking space. The woman driving was in gear and easing forward while another woman pounded on the window and shouted, “Stop! Don’t move. You’re tied up.” The driver got out of her car and the two of them started trying to figure out how those beautiful strands of purple got there as I came jogging up, waving my arms and shouting, “I dropped a ball of yarn. The wind took it. I’m really sorry!” Together we followed the yarn almost completely around the SUV before finding the end wrapped under the cargo hatch.
They began to laugh as I started pulling my offending strands out from under the driver’s tires. Each of them took a strand and began winding…properly, I was pleased to note, with plenty of ease, in multiply diagonal directions. Obviously both knitters. As the three of us pulled and wound our way back down the lot, we met one of our OTRYarn regulars coming around the corner winding from the other end.
“Hi, Polly. How are you?” I asked, trying to act casual with a purple tangle in my hands and two wing women winding separate balls of my beautiful yarn. Like this happens all the time. Like it’s a standard part of the casting on procedure my grandmother taught me. Like I’m a professional, a business owner, a fiber artist and instructor of the highest caliber. Like these women should trust me in all things yarn. “I just dropped a ball of yarn and the wind took it,” I said, shrugging and taking the semi-wound balls from my flankers.
And Polly, dear Polly…do you know what she said? Of all the things she could have noticed or remarked on, she just said, “Hey, you’re wearing Corinne. You’re right; the buttons are the best part. I love Judy Garland.”
Well, maybe somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue, and maybe the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true. Maybe project bags keep projects safe and when you drop something it stays put and doesn’t go with the wind. Here in Down Town Rockland, Corinne still has a Boyfriend, but he needs some rehab and I won’t be taking him out on the town again any time soon.
Today is November 28th, and I am wearing Corinne! Approximately 43,220 stitches are all knit, all the ends are woven in, the buttons are sewn on, it is as done as done can be. And I think I love it.
This is a new experience for me. It’s the only sweater I’ve ever knit for myself that I could actually wear in the end. And I think I’ll be wearing this one a lot.
And my favorite part? The buttons. They are vintage black and white photos of Judy Garland from The Wizard of Oz. I am so over the rainbow.
In other news…
We gave the Community Blanket to its raffle winner and the cash to New Hope For Women today.
That’s Barbara Sagat-Stover, from New Hope For Women, on the left with a big wad of money from all our wonderful raffle ticket buyers. And that’s Andy Vaughan, the raffle winner, on the right with the Community Blanket knit by our wonderful OTR knitters.
This November has been “Thanks for Giving” month and I am deeply pleased to report that we have gathered and given away… (cue the music)
300 cookies, 6 gallons of cider, 1 overflowing barrel of non-perishable food, 30 kid size hats, 26 pairs of mittens, 25 wooly scarves, Fiiiive Hundred Buuuuuks, 15 winter coats, 6 pairs of snow pants, 54 blanket squares for hurricane relief, 1 Community Blanket… (big finish) and a Paaartridge in a Peeeaaar Treeeee! I am overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit and enthusiastic community mindedness of our OTR folks. You all amaze me and I am deeply, humbly grateful for your support.
I do love it when a plan comes together. And I love it even more when a project comes to fruition and it’s just as wonderful as I imagined it would be.
I love the way knitters talk to each other. I love it that when we use the terms “front” and “back” to mean several things, we easily figure out through the context what we’re talking about. You know what I mean? The sweater front is obviously the front. And when were working on something, the front is the side facing us. And the front is the side that will be facing the outside world when we’re wearing or showing our finished piece. So…when you’re working the front side of your sweater front, hold the yarn in front when you slip the stitch. Conversely, when you work the back of the back, hold it in the back. Get it? Easy, right?
And I love the tern “frogging.” You know, when you’ve made a mistake you can’t fix any other way, you have to rip-it, rip-it, rip-it. A trip to the frog pond is usually accompanied by many other words that are more universally applied and inappropriate for polite company.
But today, while I still love the words, I am completely demoralized by the concept. I have been knitting the Lola pig (pattern here) in Ella Rae Amity Print. A sweet Faire Isle self striping worsted weight acrylic. I mean a Faire Isle self striped pig? Who could resist? Here is a finished one a customer brought it. I fell in love instantly.
Isn’t it beautiful? Just too cute! I love everything about it. When I saw the curly tail I even overcame my acrylic abhorrence and cast on with a shivery thrill.
You see, my cousin had a baby last spring and named her Fern. Yup. Fern. And I think any little girl named fern should have a pig all her own. I’ve been calling him Wilbur.
It says in the pattern notes that the increases on the rear will be placed asymmetrically so I didn’t worry until I was doing the last round of decreases on the nose. My stitches and markers didn’t line up with the pattern. I counted and fiddled and tore out and reknit. Still not right. I reread the pattern and there it was. Asymmetrical, yes, but I had placed my markers in wildly wrong places from the first row. No way to fix it. Nothing for it but to go back to the cast on and re-do the whole bloomin’ thing. *sigh* Rip-it, rip-it, rip, it. There were many expletives. And even some tears. But here is my Wilbur.
Not so beautiful. I think I have to go back to Corinne and stop this messing about. Wilbur can go in time out until he has learned the error of his ways. I’ll go back to him when Corinne is finished. And maybe Boyfriend. And maybe all my other holiday knitting. It might take that long for me to get over it. But Fern will have a Wilbur for Christmas.
And by the way, does anybody have a cute spider pattern?
Wouldn’t you think that owning a yarn shop and being surrounded by yarn all day every day would mean getting a lot of knitting done? Really, though…not so much. I started great gun on Corinne and then added Boyfriend and all seemed well in the hand. I was on track to get them both done by the end of the month. Then the other shoe dropped.
My husband and son left on Saturday morning. They love road trips and are driving from Maine to Georgia to spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s family. It was even my idea. I will be here at Over The Rainbow Yarn most of the weekend, celebrating the Festival of Lights (and you should really drop by our Mrs. Santa’s Kitchen on Maine Street, at the foot of School Street. We’ll have cookies and cider.) And I thought I would have a bunch of knitting time to myself. It turns out, time is not really my friend. We heat with wood so when I get home it’s cold in my house, and I spend a lot of the evening building up the fire and getting the place to tolerable temperatures. In the day, we are gearing up for the holiday season and I’m really too busy to knit.
And there’s this strange hole in my life when my guys are gone. Even when I am at work, I feel out of sorts, off center, foggy and dull because they are so far away instead of being home or at school where I usually stash them. And knitting just seems too weird when I feel so unlike myself. It’s strange and uncomfortable and I can’t wait to have them back again…and not just so I have some hope of finishing at least one of my sweaters before the end of the month.
Meanwhile, Corinne (in Malabrigo Rios, Jupiter) has her second sleeve about a quarter done, and I think I could finish her in a day of solid knitting. Boyfriend (in Cascade Lana D’oro, Regal) has his back all finished and about three inches of the fronts.
I knit both fronts of a cardigan at the same time and both sleeves at the same time, too, so I don’t have to contend with “I’ve already knit it once and I can’t bear to knit the second one” Syndrome (which is similar to Second Sock Syndrome, but applies to anything that come in two identical parts…like sleeves and socks.) I could make quite a dent in Boyfriend if I can knit on him in Mrs. Santa’s Kitchen over the weekend. But I have definitely taken off my crazy pants and realized that two sweaters in a month when I am working and my husband and son are on a road trip my be too much.
And thank you for not mentioning the Christmas knitting.
I’ve become a pretty selfish knitter these days. I’ve learned the hard way that not everybody appreciates a delightful knit-good. We all know what a bummer it is to put lots of time, money. and effort into a special gift only to find out that it has entered the knitted-gift-void-of-dooom, never to be seen again. My father told me that when I was about 3 or 4, my Nan knit me a sweater and when she gave it to me, I promptly told her that it was ugly and I wouldn’t wear it. I’m sure that my father was embarrassed but my Nan wasn’t vexed by my cheeky remark. Now that I’m a big kid and a knitter, I understand why it didn’t upset her. I would much rather know that someone doesn’t like something that I’ve made, so that I can keep it or give it to someone who will cherish it. That being said, there are certain people who I love knitting for. My wonderful sister, Trixie and my sweet nephew, Mason, are two folks that rank pretty high in my elite knit-goods friendly group. Today, I saw that Mason is in need of a new hat. It’s cold in Maine and Mason is bald… I can’t have him losing his sweet little baby ears to frost bite, it would make me a bad aunt. So I’m casting on a new project! It’s my favorite thing to do (finishing them is a different story…. my most current WIP and HO tally is 21, eeek)!
Here is some adorable proof that Mason wears the dorky things that his auntie knits for him (at least while he’s too young to protest).
I’m going to knit him Veronica O’Neill’s Lyon Hat in Araucania Panguipulli. It’ll be a very dapper hat for this fine little man.
I’m going to attempt to knit this tonight. Baby’s have peanut heads, right? Perhaps, I will have a finished object to report on soon.
In the spirit of not being selfish, if you’re a local yokel and want to help people in need from our community there are lots of ways you can give! We are collecting non-perishable food items and monetary donations for Turkeys for the AIO Food Pantry. We are also collecting hats, mittens, and scarves for Coats for Kids, andselling raffle tickets for our community blanket to benefit New Hope for Women. All of these charities help people in our community, so please stop by and give however you are able!
I had my qualms, of course. I wasn’t sure it was going to work out between Corinne and Boyfriend. I worried that I would like one better than another, or that one would be slower that the other. But they are both growing, they are both easy enough to be fast, but interesting enough to keep me knitting and they are just different enough from each other to keep my grasshopper brain satisfied.
Corinne is ready for her second sleeve and Boyfriend is less than an inch from his back shoulder and neck shaping.
I’ve knit my way through seven of the 16 skein these two are going to take which is just a little under half way. And it’s only the 12th. I know you all thought I had put on my crazy pants, and I could not say you were completely without good reason to suggest that I might want to rethink this whole thing. But I think I’m going to make it. My only difficulty will be deciding which one of these luscious beauties to to wear on December 1.
Okay… Don’t judge me. I spent some time yesterday evening talking out loud to myself, rehearsing what I was going to say to everyone to justify my behavior. But really, I don’t need to justify myself. It’s nobody’s business but my own, right? And it probably won’t come as any surprise to anyone who knows me.
Corinne (in Malabrigo Rios color Jupiter) is almost half done and it’s only November 7th. It makes perfect sense. It’s not at all crazy. I work better under pressure. I’m the creative type that needs more than one project going at a time. There’s nothing wrong with it, right?
There. I said it. And I did it. And it’s going to be okay. It’s going to be better than okay; it’s going to be glorious. Boyfriend in Cascade Lana Doro is just too good to be ignored. In color Regal, no less. And I’m going to have two sweaters that I knit for myself before the end of the month. Yee-hah!