Help me to know that hearts are made to break.
Help me to remember that sacred does not depend on happy.
Help me to believe that despair is never called for.
Help me to see love and beauty in every place it dwells.
Knitterly therapy — handspun from twelve years ago or more (which is about the last time I spun anything), made up into Seamus the Owl, a free pattern from Linda at Natural Suburbia.
I made you a sweater, dear, and this one fits. It looks really great on you, actually. Which is nice because while I might never fully get over the two-sizes-too-big Aran nightmare I gave you eleven years ago, this helps.
There is a funny story here, though, and it's not the four surgeries on the sleeves that you already knew about.
No, this is about the ending — I finished the final sleeve surgery (a lengthening one) yesterday morning at knitting group and wove in all the ends and then I was only one collar ribbing stint away from total completion. I was going to be reasonable and spend the afternoon on my pressing schoolwork, but then I realized two things: (1) it was an early release day, so Mr. Pants would be home in one hour, not three and (2) according to the date engraved on my engagement ring, you proposed exactly eleven years ago.
So me, the kids, and the neck ribbing went to the playground and I whipped through that thing like nobody's business. I remain obsessed with the tubular cast off, which requires short double pointed needles, but I didn't have any of those in my bag. I did have my beloved set of Addi Turbo interchangeable cable needles, though, and the tips with no cable attached were an excellent substitute, so I pulled out the two size 7's and set in on the final grafting, barely slowing my pace (and being rather grateful for something to stare at while ignoring the worst of it) when Mr. Pants showed up at my side and set off on a ten minute crying jag over wanting a remote control helicopter RIGHT NOW.
Now, you don't know this and I wouldn't expect you to, but there comes a point at the bitter end of the tubular cast off when you're highly likely to drop one of your needles because they've each only got one stitch on them and your hands are busy with a few other things and who cares about a dropped dpn when you're on the final stitch of the final cast off of a man-sized sweater?
Not me! I felt that nickle-plated beauty hit my lap and I heard it hit the decking under the picnic table where I was sitting and I knew I'd just pick it up in a second.
Which I did — I finished the bind off, smiled with satisfaction, put the remaining tip back in its little loop in the case, and bent over to pick up the one I'd dropped.
But it wasn't there.
Not there AT ALL. And that's when I noticed the gaps between the boards of the decking. Not big gaps, not big enough that I'd ever noticed them before, but big enough. Big enough to be a catastrophe.
Which is how your dignified wife ended up with her face pressed to the boards of the decking, glasses mashed up against her cheek, squinting at her one lonely size 7 Addi Turbo tip, glinting in the dirt eight inches down, utterly unreachable.
My first thought was to take up the board (actually, I was going to try to get YOU to take up the board). But the screws were small and badly rusted and there were probably twenty or thirty of them in that fifteen foot board.
I wondered how much it would really cost to get just one size of replacement tips, if that was even possible, and how much it would upset me to have the one extra and to know this one was sitting there in the dirt, getting rained on and slowly buried, and I started sadly and silently to say goodbye.
But then I saw someone walking towards the park. It was, glory be, my dearest knitting friend. And she was not going to let me lose an Addi Turbo tip without a fight.
We talked about magnets and we tried sticks... fail.
She went home and brought back crafting wire, which we bent into hairpin shapes to scoop up the ends of the needle with, but I'd get the ends hooked and then they'd slip off as soon as I lifted it an inch or so off the ground.
We doubled up the wire and twisted it on itself to get more rigidity and smaller loops at the bottom, which did help but still I kept dropping it.
My friend went home to get flashlights.
I dropped it again and she gave it a try... and dropped it.
"Packing tape," she said, "I'll get packing tape and we'll make wads of it to put on the ends of the wire and stick to the needle. It's not very heavy."
Lying there on the deck, Shmoogie clambering all over me, my glasses still smooshed to the boards, and thinking about packing tape, I had an idea.
See, the loops on the ends of the wire were working well, the fatal flaw was that there was nothing to stop the needle from sliding totally out the other side of the loop. We just needed a stopper, and packing tape could be it.
She came back, I shook Shmoogie off my back, and formed little cups of packing tape around the loop at the end of each wire. Those easily cupped and held the ends of the needle and it got all the way up to the gap... It took two tries and some careful team work, but up it came, one end breached the surface, and we had won!
Nearly an hour, that took. And worth every minute to still have a complete set of needles, but especially for the squealing fit of celebratory laughter with a friend while sprawled on the ground at the playground, the kids looking on distrustfully.
I have never made slippers for Shmoogie and I've been feeling terribly guilty about this, especially lately as she keeps digging up the ones I made for her brother last year and trying to wear them even though they fall off her feet.
So, even though I should have been either writing a paper last night or going to bed early, I knitted a pair of 6" Little Duffers, by Mindi Tallack.
And then we did the felting magic this morning, which is always the most fun when it seems they will never work out and then, voila!, they do. (The key is several firm "fittings" during the process and a really good one at the end, after rinsing in very warm water. I did bind off almost too tight, even though the pattern specifically points out you'd better bind off loosely.)
I'll take the trimmer to the fuzz when they come out of the oven. (To dry; I'm being impatient - 200 degrees F seems to be working out.)