Rites of friendship

(After a holiday hiatus … the first of likely several posts)

Sometimes in life we are fortunate to meet people with whom we have enough in common – and enough not in common – to become like salt and pepper shakers.  On the table together, they complement each other.  Although my other friends are scattered to the four winds and connected to me by wires, there is one who lives but blocks away and is the one who makes every day better for knowing her:  KnittingKittens.

We had been acquaintances in town for some years, but we were brought together by our mutual need to use knitting needles to prevent homicide at too-long board meetings of a local organization.  (In fact once, KnittingKittens finished her project during one of those meetings, and knowing that mayhem might ensue, she ripped it out and started over, just to keep those hands busy.)

KnittingKittens has an incredibly full life.  She seeks out interesting things and does them, even if it’s by herself in a group of strangers.  She thinks nothing of jaunting off to Europe with a group of strangers, or of entertaining 30 relatives at one time in her apartment.  She makes time to always have perfectly painted nails.  (Sigh.) Like me, she is a grammar geek: we can both diagram sentences and spot dangling prepositions from 500 yards.  She appreciates an ellipsis used and punctuated correctly.  KnittingKittens loves it when I use New York Times words, and long before I knew her, she started a log book of words to look up and use.

As my friend, KnittingKittens lifts me up, calls me “Cookie,” reminds me to put on lipstick, and provides wake-up calls from Owl’s mommy-induced comas.  And she brings coffee to our room to wake me up at the Knitter’s Review Retreat.  What more could one ask of a real friend?

Like so many close friendships, ours is marked by little rituals, one of which occurred while I was on blog-hiatus:

Twice a year, the Polish nursing home holds a pierogie sale.  That’s right, pierogies.  I am under express orders to not bother coming home for Christmas without them for our Christmas Eve dinner.  Seeing that these are the lightest handmade pierogies on the planet, a few hundred other people think it’s a good idea show up for the 8 a.m. sale, which is usually sold out well before 10.  However, that’s positively eons after KnittingKittens and I meet up in the pre-dawn darkness and sit in her toasty-warm car, drinking coffee, exchanging gifts, seeing the sun rise and having one last visit before I venture out-of-state for the holidays.  (Last year, we did this in a foot of newly fallen snow, arriving before the plow guys.  We also do this sans gifts when the hand-sculpted butter lambs are available for Easter, but that’s a post for another day.)

All of this is the long way of bringing us around to one of mercifully few holiday knitted gifts:  KnittingKittens’ Hedgerow Mitts.

KnittingKittens' Hedgerow Mitts

She loves mitts.  I enjoyed making these for myself, but knew it would be unlikely that KnittingKittens would make up a pair on US2 needles.  So I found the shade of Koigu I wanted (to match her Sally Melville Shape-It Scarf) at a yarn shop 20 miles away, and cast on in August.  I also used them as an in-progress model for the “2-at-a-time” class I taught at the LYS in the fall.  Since these were to be a surprise, I could not knit them in front of KnittingKittens, which meant that prime knitting moments were not available.  No matter, the knitting all got done when it had to be done.  And they fit her, and she likes them.  Note: you can tell by the unpolished nails in the photo that these are not KnittingKittens’ hands.

Project details:  Hedgerow Mitts by Amy Ripton, based on Hedgerow Socks by Jane Cochran.

Thumb detail

Yarn:  Koigu KPPM.  For some reason, one skein of this was wonky – it was decidedly thinner than the other. I will also say that unlike my previous Koigu experiences, this was not too pleasant to work with.  I’m tempted to destash all my Koigu.  Stay tuned, Koigu lovers.

Pattern mods:  None – because KnittingKittens has larger hands, I did do the hand increases, and I used the sewn bind-off to provide extra elasticity at the tops of the mitts.

Not to be outdone, her incredibly thoughtful gift to me was  Charted Knitting Designs, the third Barbara Walker treasury, which I’m sure I will use many times in the years ahead.

And no, do not ask where that pierogie sale happens.  I won’t let the secret out.  😉


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5 Responses to “Rites of friendship”

  1. Koigu Boy Says:

    Really enjoyed the blog and the pictures of your knitting. I am sorry to hear that you had a skein of our yarn that was not to your liking. If you ever run into a problem with our yarn please, please take it back to your place of purchase and have it replaced. If you wish you can even return it to us and we shall replace it for you. The odd time a skein that is not up to our standards does get onto the market much to our dismay. Please accept our apologies and let me know if I may do anything to help.

    Keep knitting and have fun,
    Koigu Boy

  2. KnittingKittens Says:

    Oh my-I am quite overcome! Having NutmegOwl in my life is a blessing . She is always there when I need her.
    Hugs and stitches,

  3. solaris Says:

    How did I miss your blog? Sheer blindness! I love your knitting in general. Lovely Mitts. What a gorgeous colour! – Margaret (Solaris on KR)

  4. Nanci Says:

    To know both the writer and the “subject” of today’s blog is one of the great joys in my life. I love you both!

  5. Mary Says:

    Having met KnittingKittens at the Retreat, I wish she lived on my block! Great blog post!

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