April 20, 2006


At this moment, I'm in Oakland, at the TKGA national convention, but before I can start telling you about my knitting adventures here, let me back up to tell you about the evening I had just a few days ago.

I typically go to the post office every day to mail things for Two Swans Yarns. Last Monday's trip to the post office was particularly interesting. You see, on those Mondays when the Ferals meet and I'm trying to be particularly efficient, I will swing by a post office that's just a couple of blocks off of the freeway, en route to Seattle. Last Monday, April 17, being the deadline for postmarking federal income tax returns, I was expecting a particularly long line at the post office. But since I hadn't managed to make it to my local, rural post office earlier in the day, I drove up to the urban, just-off-the-freeway one, preparing myself to accept a crowd that would be as large and frazzled as the one that gathers for the Christmas mailing season.

To their credit, the people managing the post office were geared for the evening. A postal employee was at the curb where the drive-up box was, and she was taking by hand the tax returns that drivers were handing to her.

Parking spots were at a premium, but the postal employees weren't allowing people to double-park (something I have seen happen during the Christmas mailing rush). I managed to find a space to park in, and went into the post office building with my Two Swans packages that needed postage.

Inside the lobby there were the sweetest sounds of steel drum music. And a woman from a local restaurant, handing out "anti-stress fish" to those of us who had to stand in line to wait to be helped by the postal clerks. These colorful "anti-stress fish" were made from a material like foam rubber, and you squeeze them like a worry stone. While I was waiting in line, I actually saw people dancing in the lobby to the sounds of the steel drums, although they were gone by the time I went out and retrieved my camera from the car to snap this picture:

PostOfficeParty 002.jpg

In all, I spent only about 10 or 15 minutes at the post office that day -- and it was far more enjoyable than the usual trip.

Our Ferals meeting was well-attended that evening, and again I have to credit the interest in spinning for being part of the draw. The drop spindle spinners want to start meeting an hour in advance of our regular Ferals meetings -- and this sounds like a great idea to me, and an opportunity for me to practice with my drop spindle (which otherwise has been buried in my closet since last November).

Janine had brought her Sashiko jacket-in-progress -- but couldn't work on her sleeve since the three dpns she had with her were engaged in holding the stitches. She asked around for a fourth dpn to knit with. "Does anyone have a spare size 1 dpn? You'll save my life if I can borrow it to knit with," she pleaded.

Rebecca and Ryan were elbowing each other out of the way, vying for the opportunity to save Janine's life. Rebecca whipped out her size 1 dpn the fastest, chanting in a neener-neener singsong, "I'm gonna save Janine's life, I'm gonna save Janine's life." Janine gratefully accepted the dpn, only to immediatey pass it back to Rebecca with the remark that it was a six-inch dpn and too short for her to work with comfortably. Ryan, meanwhile, was screaming, "No, I'm gonna save Janine's life!" and rather dramatically unfurled her knitting needle case -- but the size 1 dpn she handed over to Janine was only about 7 inches. Longer than Rebecca's, but still not quite the lifesaver that Janine was hoping for. Meanwhile, I was rummaging behind me for my knitting bag and the ball of yarn attached to my Lupine Lace sock, and shouting, "No, I'm gonna save Janine's life!" The working needle for my Lupine Lace socks is not only a size 1 dpn, but it is an eight-inch long one, and when I handed it off to Janine, she declared, "You saved my life!"

PostOfficeParty 004.jpg

Janine, revivified. You see that metal needle across the bottom of Janine's knitting? That one's mine -- so there.

I spent much of that evening giving Rebecca an impromptu lesson on intarsia knitting. (Visit Rebecca's blog and scroll down to her entry of April 19 to read her really nice commentary on it all.) When at last I was ready to knit on my own Fair Isle project, I found I hadn't brought with me the right pattern. So I turned to the Lupine Lace sock. I was far too polite to reach across the table and snatch back from Janine's knitting my size 1 dpn, so I rummaged around in my knitting bag and came up with a long circular size 1 needle. I put this into my sock's stitches, thinking that the magic loop method would become clear to me by the time I had put the needle into all 72 stitches. I still couldn't quite figure it out, so I turned to June who was sitting to my right, and she gave me an impromptu lesson on how to do the magic loop.

That is so much the strength of our group. Everyone pitches in to help each other -- and not just pitching in to help, but ferally fighting over who gets the privelege of helping.

Posted by Karen at April 20, 2006 08:28 PM

We call it the Knitter's Heimlich! And I'm STILL breathing! However, can you now remove that double chin and middle-aged peering through bifocals gaze?????
Have fun at TKGA!

Posted by: Janine at April 21, 2006 10:44 AM

I laughed out loud, right at work :)

I want a turn at saving Janine's life too!

Posted by: Angela at May 2, 2006 11:42 AM