Saturday, November 25, 2006

My Arlen Needles

Here's pair of socks I made for myself. (Yes, I occasionally keep a pair of socks that I make). I finished these actually last February, but I'm just now taking pix of some of the socks I've kept for myself. These are made from Lorna's Laces Sport weight in the persimmon colorway. I used a garter rib for the cuff. Quick and simple. And these socks are so soft! I don't really like the way the colors pool over the foot. But the colors are so pretty don't really mind so much.

There's a story connected to these socks. I had gone up to Winnipeg for an SCA event last January. On Friday night there was an archery shoot at a range down town. I don't do archery, but it's fun to watch. So I tagged along, with my knitting in hand. (I don't go anywhere without my knitting. God forbid I don't have something to do at an event) I carry my knitting in a little bag I made from scraps of upholstery fabric and cords for a drawstring. I had completed one of the socks and had just finished the ribbing on the second in car on the drive up. I set my knitting down on a chair and went around hugging friends I had not seen for a while. Then I went to sit down and knit and watch the archery.

Blast! One of my bamboo needles was snapped in half!

These were my favorite needles! I had had them for several years, and they had never broken. One was a severely warped, which annoyed me, but they still worked just fine. I was kinda grumpy about it, but I use five needles to knit socks, and it can be done with four, so I figured I could re-arrange the stitches and carry on. But as I began to shift stitches, I realized that the next needle was also snapped. And the next needle. And the next. The only needle still whole was (of course) the warped one. I panicked. What was I going to do for the next two days with no knitting?! Until this point in my life I had known I enjoyed knitting. And at events or other places where I might be shy and have a hard time feeling like I fit in I used my knitting as a shield against feeling alone or out of place. People would see me knitting often stop and chat for a few minutes about what I was doing. (Complete strangers can become life long friends during a five minute conversation about knitting or other fiber crafts.) But I hadn't realized the extent of my addiction. I was terrified. Two days without knitting?? I asked the woman next to me if there was a yarn shop near by? If so, would they be open at 7pm on a Friday night? She looked at me blankly and said she didn't think Winnepeg had any. I began to tremble violently.

A young man named Arlen that I had met just that day overheard me asking. He probably noticed my hands shaking, too. He said there was a craft store at a mall nearby. He offered to drive me over. I was doubtful. In Fargo the craft stores do not stock size 1 double points. Straight needles for scarf knitting can be bought in various sizes. Double points in size 5 and up, yes. A few 29" Circular needles in size 8 and up, yes. But size 1 double points? No way. In Fargo they can be bought only at Pieces of String or Yarn Renaissance. But he was so nice to offer that I figured what the heck. And wouldn't you know it, Lewiscraft-in-a-mall had Susan Bates size 1 doublepoints! Metal, so they wouldn't break! (I figure someone sat on my knitting and that's how the needles broke. Hah! Try sitting on them now!) And they were reasonably priced! I bought two sets of 4. Now I was set. I was able to finish the cuff that weekend thanks to a guy who didn't knit but was friendly enough to go out of his way to give me a hand. He's clean cut, handsome, genuinely nice and young. Too young, darn it all.

That's why those particular needles are called my Arlen needles. Here we are, the following day at the event. Notice how calm and happy I look? That is thanks to Arlen and his gnerosity in offering to take me to find more knitting needles!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Aroma of Thanksgiving

I have had serious sinus trouble for about 13 or 14 years, resulting in a loss of my sense of smell. Sure, I've been able to smell, here and there, like right after one of my sinus surgeries, or during one of my semi annual courses of prednisone. Because I love the smell of lilacs in spring, and the scent of Christmas cookies baking I've tried to arrange to have the prednisone for those times of the year. I haven't smelled Thanksgiving in 13 years. But yesterday I walked into my mom's house and smelled Thanksgiving: the turkey roasting in the oven overlaid by the tang of cranberries bubbling on the stove, and, faintly, the spice of pumpkin pie in the backround. Now THAT is something to be grateful for. Next time you smell your coffee in the morning or your soap in the shower or the fabric softener sheet in the dryer, take a deep breath and give thanks. A sense of smell should not be taken for granted.