I’ve been going full steam ahead on Minni, and I’m delighted to announce that after much effort and no end of fiddling around, it’s almost done. I finished the sleeve the other evening. I stayed up way too late, practically nodding off in the chair, with Joe suggesting repeatedly that I give up and send myself to bed, but I was so close, and you know how it goes… one more row…
Yesterday I picked up the million stitches that I cast on provisionally so long ago, and as I went back and forth to my meeting on the streetcar yesterday, it was somehow finished. This morning, there was just the ends to weave in (about a thousand) and then I did the last little bit of finishing – a single chain of crochet along the border between the stripes and the plain bit.
Crochet isn’t my best thing – even a chain is hard for me to make tidy, and not at all for the first time in this project, I wondered why I do this to myself? The deadline, the late nights, the fiddly bits? It’s hard to explain, isn’t it? How you’d torture yourself a little bit, all for the sake of a wee gift? Today, I’m finished (almost) in enough time to do the optional bit. The original sweater has a little embroidered patch on it, and from the beginning I’d thought that maybe I’d do it, and maybe not. I can embroider, but not quickly, and not too well, so I though that if there was time, I’d give it a go. I’ve got the stuff together, and if it works out, I’ll sew it on, and if it turns out to be a train wreck I’ll burn it under a full moon and pretend it never happened. I have a really cute idea for it though, if it works.
There’s other big news though, way bigger and way better than me struggling through a sweater of unusual fiddliness, and it’s this.
Just a day ago, that arrived at Kelly’s Canadian address. (Her daughter/my niece Savannah lives there.) It is (DRUMROLL PLEASE) Kelly’s missing suitcase. That suitcase left Madagascar with Kelly on the 31st July, and promptly went missing. Kelly arrived, and it didn’t and within it was Kelly’s entire knitting for an entire year. (I’m just telling you this, in case you didn’t read the entry about it last week) Kelly has spent the last several months trying to track it down. Many calls, many claims, many frustrating episodes with the Air Canada reps, during which nobody seemed to really understand that this wasn’t simply a lost bag, but a lost years worth of work. As many of you said when I blogged about it, it was heartbreaking. On October 2nd, I blogged about it. Kell and I had talked, and we weren’t sure if anything would come of it, but we imagined that it couldn’t hurt. Maybe somewhere there was a knitter who worked for Air Canada, or the baggage company, or… we didn’t know. At the very least it seemed like this should be a grief that was shared. At the very least, Kelly would have the sympathies of people who understood to balance out the 47 heartbreaking conversations with customer service.
It worked too – and not just because people started looking for the bag, but because Kelly read all of the comments that night, and she felt less alone, and less crazy, and she texted me that night and said “The comments made me cry. Some people really, really understand”. We do understand too. When Kelly wrote about the loss of the bag, she talked about what it’s like to knit for people you’re not with – people you can’t be with as much as you like. She talked about conjuring the feelings of Lou’s little arms round her neck when she knit sleeves on his sweater, or the feeling of Myrie’s soft skin which she made her a vest. The desire to keep them safe and warm and care for them, even though she can’t from where she is. All of that, you know… it gets poured into little knitted things, and to lose those things? I think to Kelly it felt like losing that connection.
Your gift to her went beyond that understanding though, although that would have been more than enough, I assure you. Many of you tweeted to Air Canada, and some of you did work in the right places, and some of you had insider email addresses to people who might be able to help, and you drew attention to the nature of the disaster, and Air Canada did tweet back and say that they were looking, and I guess maybe the power of so many knitters giving the problem so much attention paid off, because just a few days ago, after months of no movement, and the certainty that the bag was gone, right after I posted about it, a courier called Savannah and said the bag was found. In London.
The bag arrived, and Savannah opened it up, and behold, all of the things were in there. Warm vests, little dresses, tiny sweaters, and bigger ones too. Hats to keep little ears warm… all the things that Kelly had looked crazy knitting in Madagascar….
They’ve all found their way home, on the brink of another Canadian winter.
It’s like a little Kelly arrived.
These things will be all her proxies. When Katie pulls a sweater over Lou’s head, it will be like Kelly’s there to give him a hug. When Myrie’s cozy in January, it’s Kelly who will have done it, and while she sits in the sweltering heat, far from all of it, she’ll know she’s doing her bit. She’ll be present, in a way.
Kelly sent this little message for you:
I would like to thank all of you for the solidarity, support, positive thoughts and activating your networks! We may never know how the bag found it’s way home but it cannot be a coincidence that only 4 days after this appeal – it was found in London!
As you know, I live very far from all of the people who mean everything to me. In my absence, a couple of very special people were born. I knit for them almost every day and all of my love goes into these little hats, sweaters and dresses. Misoatra Tompoko! (Thank you all so much).
I don’t know about you, but it’s a good day to be a knitter. Not just because you likely organized a rescue of the most tremendous and fantastical sort, but because it reminds us why we do this. It’s love. The things we make are beautiful, cozy, portable containers for love. I
I can stay up late to make that happen. It’s magic.