Quite some time ago you told Betty
and me that you were pregnant with your third child. We were so excited and happy for you and, us all being knitters, we naturally decided to knit you something for your dear little bundle. After a lot of scheming (which mostly consisted of she and I showing up early to our regular lunch meetings and poring over colour cards and discussing our options), we came up with a solution. We'd make you the Circle of Friends blanket from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts." We quizzed you in secret about the nursery colours, and picked seven colours of yarn for the blanket, and set to work. Each of us was to knit strips of 7 colours each; I would do 4, Betty would do 3 and the seaming.
The code name for the project was Operation Binky. And we did so well at keeping it a secret!
Months passed. You were due in October, and we were mostly finished and a late-night knitting marathon from Betty finally saw all the strips finished. I seamed two strips together upside-down while watching TV with Kirsten one night, then fixed them. Betty seamed the rest, as I am clearly not to be trusted with such simple assembly.
That left only the matter of weaving in the ends. I had high hopes for getting it all done at Christmas because I had two weeks off, but days of sitting in my jammies until 4pm watching bad movies kind of ran together and somehow I only finished about a third of it. The author recommended leaving long tails every time yarn was changed, in order to have something with which to seam. I think there were at least 50 ends and probably closer to 100.
And let me tell you, when I finished, it was beautiful. Not a single end could be seen anywhere. But we'd chosen superwash wool for a reason - it must be machine-washable and dryable - and I knew I had to test it out. And I needed to wash it that very night, because we were going to have lunch with you the very next day. But first, I took some pictures.
That night, of course, there were terrible tornadoes all across Tennessee. I rushed to put my survival stuff in the bathroom and get ready to hide if they came near me. But before I did, I put the blanket in the washer, set it to the gentle cycle and dribbed in a bit of Eucalan. Then I got my flashlight and candles and emergency knitting and watched the weather.
Little did I know that while my apartment was safe, sound and secure, all h-e-doublehockeystick was breaking loose in the washing machine. After a while I realized the machine had stopped, and I went with some (but not much) apprehension to get it out. After all, the wool was superwash - I knew it wouldn't felt. It would look a bit stretched out from being wet, but mostly it would be even more gorgeous than when I washed it.
My heart stopped. I may have uttered a few words that wouldn't be appropriate to say around your new baby. I turned the thing over and over in my hands and counted each hole. What had done this? A mouse? The Loch Ness BinkyMonster? Most of all, if the seaming or weaving was so dang bad, why couldn't I find a single end?
At first, I have to admit, I was horrified. I didn't know WHAT to tell Betty. I sent her a frantic email with some pictures and tried not to be so stunned. Then I thought about you, and what I knew of our friendship. I knew you would laugh and laugh at this. But most of all, I knew that it was amazingly fortunate I had decided to do the washing instead of just giving it to you. Because I can't imagine your face when you took this shredded and chewed mess of wool out of the washer, a gift from your friends who had spent so much time on it. I can imagine how it would have made you laugh and cry at the same time.
I am really glad we didn't do that to you. And I'm also glad that when we told you about the minor setback, you DID laugh. You wanted us to give it to you as-is. I think you can see why we can't, but I also think, after a good drying and a little bit of sleep, that it can be fixed. I'll get right on that, but I don't know how I will tell you to wash it.