When the Olympics were over, the one thing that struck me was I wanted to do something else besides the sweater. I wasn't happy with the zipper, so I ripped it out. I put in a button band but it's not put in right (it ripples, meaning I picked up too many stitches). The pockets aren't in. So in a way, I'm not done, which means I'm not an Olympian. Well I am an Olympian; it was technically complete when the torch went out. I was thrilled that I finished a sweater in 16 days. But the satisfaction was tempered by my dissatisfaction with how it came out. It happens all too often. I get in a hurry and don't pay attention. I want to get the damn thing done and over with!
The first post-Olympic project was a pair of fingerless gauntlets done up in the Paint Box. The recipient, Linda, is a viola player with very willowy hands with long fingers. She and I share the same warped sense of humor and love to elaborately decorate my boss's cubicle (one year it was an Italian bistro; last year it was a tiki hut, which he didn't take down for two months). I gave her the gauntlets and she was thrilled to pieces. "I was able to play my solo!" she gushed to me today after a concert. "My hands could move!" From one fellow musician to another. I understand. Cold hands suck!
The projects that I'm currently working on are works of love. A few years ago, I joined the GLBT Knit list and gained the acquaintance of Alicia. Our email relationship developed into a fun friendship where she is the Gawdess of the Rubbah Slippah and I'm the SockMistress Duffilina, Denizen of the Dark Side. She just does not like to make socks! At the time, she and her partner Norma were living in a house in the mountains outside San Diego. Then a couple of years ago, fire swept through and completely destroyed their house and everything in it except what they could throw into their pickup in 15 minutes. They lost all their fiber (Norma is a weaver and spinner; Alicia a spinner and knitter), their equipment, everything. When I heard the news, I tried to imagine that happening to me. I stood in my house full of stuff and tried to imagine losing everything. It was horrible, emotionally wrenching. It's one thing to lose things like furniture, appliances, and clothes, but the things you have made with your hands hold a very special place in the spirit. They are an extension of yourself at the time of their creation and can never ever be replicated.
I wrote Alicia many letters of support, made a square with a sock on it for the afghan we made for her, and did what I could to try to ease the agony of loss. She sent me one of her hats made of yarn one of our fellow listers donated to her and many letters of love. When I spoke of my intention to go to Carnegie Hall, she secretly organized a fundraising within the group. She sent me skeins of handspun with the request to make Norma a pair of slipper socks. The yarn unfortunately was not appropriate for making the slipper socks. I would have to find a substitute.
Fortunately, there are many sockweight yarns out there. I wanted the slippers to reflect Alicia and Norma's transition from San Diego to Hawaii. I found a pattern in Anna Zilboorg's Fancy Feet called Heart Waves that really spoke to me what I wanted to convey. They are interlocking waves of water, love, spirit, and joy. I chose tropical colors and finished the first slipper sock last night.
But I wasn't going to just make a pair of slipper socks. I have another part of the project going on that is taking on a deeper meaning. I'm choosing yarns carefully and thinking about designs, symbols, and shapes. They will rise from the respect, love, and friendship I have with Alicia. When they're done, they will show their faces here.