Monday, March 24, 2008

Four Feet Two

First in knitting news, I had quite a lovely surprise when I made my weekly trip to the mailbox yesterday.

It seems A Knitted Peace determined I had spent $500 in their store in 2007 and am eligible for their customer appreciation program. I got a $50 gift certificate.

Why do you suppose it's so much harder to spend a gift certificate than cash? I'm paralysed by my options. There's a good chance I'll sit on this for ages.

Probably until I lose the gift certificate.

[SUMMARY: I'm a financial wizard.]

But I didn't bring you here to talk about my "windfall." No, I brought you here to talk about my knitting.

I finished the Jellyfish a week ago, but couldn't deliver it§ until I could take pictures.

In the end, it was 33" across. It took three skeins (less three yards) of Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick in Sky Blue. It's very, very thick and may make a better dragging blankie than covering blankie.

[SUMMARY: Know your audience.]

Speaking of audience...

Nice segueway, huh? But I just thought of this. And it's sort of knitting related. And it goes with the footnote on baby blankets, specifically the one for Jeron, Christa's son.

Christa was supposed to be at the baby shower, but her mother was in the hospital or some such, so I left the long-finished blanket with Tani, who I felt sure would see Christa before I would.

Tani reported that Christa loved the blanket and...

(wait for it) going to frame it.

I almost cried. I almost yelled. I almost argued.# Then I caught myself and thought and said, "I guess she can frame it if she wants to. I made it for her, so it's her blankie."

But, really.

I envision the blankies I give to the babies being loved and mussed and dragged around until they're frayed and stained. I want the blankies to be loved. Not preserved.

But, again... not my call. Blankies are like children: you do your best with them, then release them to the world and trust they'll reach their best potential.

But, really.

[SUMMARY: There's a lot of philosophy in a baby blanket.]

OK, I'm back. We were talking knitting.

Real knitting. Not philosophical knitting.

So here's the scarf you've never heard of before that I knitted for the raffle on Saturday. I used Misti chunky alpaca†† and it was lovely. Soft as alpaca is soft and quick and comfortable...

And look at the colour! It's called "Marina Melange" and it has wisps of green and deep purplish-blue in among the tealish colour. I could have stared at it for hours,‡‡ just wrapping my eyes around the depth of the shades.


In a quick field trip to some of the fluffly little shops across from the Coral Room, I found the perfect card on which to write content and washing instructions:

Perfect for me, I mean. And the fact that it came with 11 other cards just like it? Bonus!

[SUMMARY: I'm a total package kind of girl.]

Finally, I finished the four-at-once socks.

As anticipated, the difference in sizes caused most of the headaches, but they were very small headaches. Not even headaches so much as exercises in brow furrowing. They hardly hurt a bit.

I think I'll do six at once next. In lace. Different laces for each pair. Then I can tell if it's difference period or just difference in size that makes the... difference.

Sort of like a double-blind study.§§

[SUMMARY: I have superpowers!]

Happy story:

The orange yarn is Hobby Kids from Schoeller + Stahl, left over from a pair I knit for Brother. I figured I wouldn't have quite enough for all four socks. When I went to look for more, I found the yarn has been discontinued.

Paradise Fibers showed they had ten balls of Hobby Kids in red, so I ordered one. They called me that night to say, "Oops! There was an error on our website. Can we send you [some other yarn] instead? Please leave us a message."

I told them I needed the same gauge, same basic tweedy colour scheme and fully machine washable and dryable.

Nobody at Paradise Fibers ever checks their messages. I got about four phone calls and three emails the next day, all from different people.% When I got the yarn, it's 83% wool and wholly unsuitable.

I had to be down in Littleton for random work reasons, so I stopped by A Knitted Peace. That's where I got the original orange yarn. I had no illusions that they would have more of the Hobby Kids, but I thought maybe they'd have SOMETHING.

Guess what?

They happened to have two balls of green^ Hobby Kids in the back. They collect yarn for the women's correctional facility to use in making charity knitting projects, and someone had donated it. So they didn't charge me.@

Oh, happy!

[SUMMARY: Good things come to those who wait 'til the last minute.]

Funny story:

I dropped by the Household du Brother Monday to drop off the socks.¶¶ Dr. Doom ran into the living room in his underpants, excited to get his socks.## Tallest, Hairiest Nephew also came in to see what the fuss was about, although he apparently forgot his underpants. And all other clothing.

Upon seeing the aunt and the open door, he covered his privates and fell to the ground. As he crawled to the pile of clothing on the coffee table,††† eBeth said, "Remember when I told you to put underwear on? Wouldn't that have been a good idea?"‡‡‡

So they both put on socks and wandered around in their underwear making appreciative noises.§§§ Just as I was leaving, Dr. Doom whipped off his underwear and went puttering around in nothing but his new socks.

[SUMMARY: Naked is the new black.]

I'm mildly disturbed that it's so easy for me to get my nephews out of their pants.

Then again, I haven't tried... do you think handing a pair of socks to The Spelling Bee Champ would entice him to remove his?

FOOTNOTE (crossed): Honestly, I don't know if I ever knew there was such a thing. And it's a little scary to think I spent that much last year at my SECONDARY LYS, but look! Customer appreciation!

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): That's a 10% ROI. I couldn't have done any better with a Certificate of Deposit.

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): Speaking of delivery, the baby was born Monday. That makes this blanket a personal record for me, being both finished and presented (OK, OK... but I'm taking it tonight or tomorrow morning) within days of birth. My brother assured me long ago that hand-knit baby blankets don't have to be finished by the time the baby arrives. In fact, he tells me, they don't even have to be finished that soon after the baby arrives. Good thing, too. Christa just got Jeron's baby blanket and he's nine months old. In my defense, it didn't take me that long to knit it, just that long to get it to her.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): Perhaps my hand-knit gifts should come with a warning that they will not be distributed until the proper photography and cataloguing (I can spell "cataloguing") has taken place.

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): Which, y'know... lots of good. Yelling at Tani for Christa's actions. Very productive.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): 100% baby alpaca, which sounds really cruel when you say it out loud to someone.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): OK, I *did* stare at it for hours.

§§FOOTNOTE (two pairs, two circs): Almost nothing like a double-blind study. Mostly the cheerful, blind flailing of the blissfully experimental.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): As you may recognise, this is a mini customer service indictment of Paradise Fibers. They are VERY nice and VERY prompt, but not particularly well organised and they don't appear to ever talk to each other. Or check their messages.

^FOOTNOTE (careted): Which I suspect looks better than the red would have.

@FOOTNOTE (atted): I know, I know... I felt a little wriggly taking charity yarn and told them I'd gladly replace it with two balls of something, but they said they have way more than enough and they'd never miss it. Perhaps it's my Kharmic payout for the raffle scarf.

¶¶FOOTNOTE (little stocking feet): Did I mention it took me until nearly 2:00 in the morning to finish them?

##FOOTNOTE (pounding like the last round of knitting at 2:00 am): It's spring break and they were getting ready to leave for South Dakota. He deemed the socks, "perfect trip socks."

†††FOOTNOTE (are we back to Calgary? It was Easter, after all): Packing, remember. Not a housekeeping issue.

‡‡‡FOOTNOTE (Frankenblog!): The things you get to say when you're a parent. Apparently. Heh.

§§§FOOTNOTE (OK, now I'm dizzy): Have I mentioned recently how marvelous it is that so many people in my life -- particularly everybody I'd ever be inspired to knit for -- is so appreciative? I hear stories from knitter friends all the time about people who aren't thrilled or impressed or... appreciative at all. I may be the luckiest knitter in the world. Even the four-year-old thinks hand-knits are cool.

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