It is with a heavy heart that I pass along the news that some of my most treasured handknits have expired. Yes, I know there are greater losses. But these knitted items were kind of a benchmark for me in a lot of ways.
First off, I didn’t knit them. They were the first handknits I ever received, from the first knitting swap in which I ever participated. It was the summer of 2007 and Harry Potter mania was in mid-swing. One night I’d probably had half a glass of wine too many, clicked on a link, and Bam! I was in a Harry Potter themed knitting swap. We had fake wizarding names and everything.
I remember the timing because it was when I was starting to knit the Ravenclaw-colored socks for my downstream swap partner, my youngest child was admitted to the hospital and being fed some high-calorie meals around the clock in an effort to pack some pounds on him. I was pretty stressed out and struggling with the double-pointed bamboo needles and actual Sock Weight Yarn, but I was making a game effort of it sitting on the hospital bed until the afternoon I pulled too hard on the wrong needle and yanked it out of about 25 stitches. I knew then it was time to quit without really quitting. I called in a favor to my cyber sister Lauren in Scottsdale, frogged the project, and sent her the yarn so she could make socks for my partner. I did make some beaded stitch markers and get other goodies for my downstream partner, but in the end she barely acknowledged receipt of my packages.
My upstream pal, however, was a whole different story. Jules sent me a pair of striped Hufflepuff socks, a drawstring bag with lotion and goodies, and my favorite type of Ritter brand chocolate — dark chocolate with marzipan. You can relive that happy moment here at my One Happy Hufflepuff post from June 21, 2007.
Jules was also the first long-distance knitter I met in person. We got together once at a cool yarn/fiber shop near Springfield, Ohio, that had, among other things, a claw-foot tub FILLED with yarn. It was on that day that I bought my first package of stitch markers, and a hank of yarn I just KNEW I would make into mittens someday (and I eventually did). It was that first meeting when I told Jules she had the hair of a spinner. Do you believe me now, Jules?
We met up again a couple of years later to visit a yarn store in Dublin, Ohio, and get some Jeni’s Ice Cream while I finished Those Noro Socks.
Many things have changed since then. Tommy put on a few pounds and got discharged from the hospital. I learned to knit socks and even more intricate items. I had meetups with other knitters, created a little knitting get-together we like to call Unwind, and started a local knitting group that’s been meeting for almost three years now. I’ve done another Harry Potter related knitting event, and got re-sorted; I’m no longer classified as a hardworking, loyal Hufflepuff but a brainy, clever Ravenclaw who has gone on to knit herself some nice ‘claw-colored items.
When you knit…. people don’t often give you knitted things. But other knitters know this, and the kindest of them make sure that the handknits keep getting parceled out. I cherished those socks, and this winter I was wearing them to bed when I felt especially cold. One morning a couple of weeks ago I took them off to discover that they had given their all.
I’m sorry, Madame Pomfrey / Jules / Crafty Peach. But they were loved.