November 8, 2004
All sewn up
Dear Ann and Kay,
If you had been in my house at 1:30 (30 minutes before guests were to arrive) you wouldn't have thought it was going to work. Joe was coming in the door with new furniture (the bookcase by the door that smelled like paint...if you're wondering) and groceries, me soaking wet out of the bath screeching at the girls to take everything I hadn't managed to clean up and throw it on my bed (and for the love of sheep...close the door)..and the pinnacle moment, when Amanda suggested that the family thought I might be a little "too wound up" and I (ever so calmly) told her that it was my feeling that the family was not -insert the filthy expletive of your choice here- wound up enough. I was rethinking the whole thing as I desperately tried to find a clean shirt and searched for a box of stinking crackers. At 1:52 I found my bra and replaced the electronics magazines in the bathroom with the latest Interweave Knits....and thought there might be a chance that it was all coming together.
You would have loved it. We had a good time, though the concept is rather hard to explain to the uninitiated. (So...you've invited a whack of strangers to your house to sew up squares knit by other strangers that were mailed to other strangers in Tennessee and New York...that they mailed to you? But you don't know them? When you're done you're mailing it to other strangers to keep them warm? Okey dokey.)
We ate, we drank, we sewed up squares. I've decided to give awards. (There are no prizes. Just my undying gratitude for every single warm body that turned up.)
To Elizabeth, who takes the award for neatest sweater concept, as well as the award for "Best red instincts". She used her fine colour sense and put together the Red Afghan. (She sews really well too...and brought me the most beautiful mug she'd made.)
To Aven, for inventing the "Afghan Photo Verification Assembly System", whereby she had the cunning good sense to take a digital picture of Elizabeth's plan so we would have a reference for how it all was meant to go together. Bonus points for emailing me the picture late last night when I was assembling the rest of the afghan and didn't want to screw up Elizabeth's plan.
To Kelli Ann, for coming from Montreal, bringing her charming Tante Louise, seeing what a madhouse it all was, then not immediately revoking her decision to hold her own sewing up party on the 28th. (Also, she had a killer hat on.)
To Sarah..who wins the award for craziest idea longest distance travelled. Sarah drove from Ottawa, sewed her little heart out, then turned around and drove back home. That's a mind boggling 10 hours of driving, just to sew up squares. (I'm wondering if she was thinking about strangling someone when she found out that Kelli Ann's sew up party will be much, much closer...)
To Jane, who hates the cold...knows that I engage in the furnace wars, and came anyway. Atta girl. (It ended up being too hot. We opened windows.)
To Aara, for bringing her lovely daughter (you should see the sketch the kid did of the sewing up party. Unreal.) wearing a fabulous sweater, and for knowing how to crochet. (Thanks for that. I hate crocheting.) Aara also had the coolest experience. When we dumped the box of squares from New York on the table, Aara picked up a very pretty Noro one and said "Hey! I knit that one".
For Emma, the award for bringing the most charming mother. (Ok, she was the only one who brought their mother...but her Mum was darned nice...and a really good sew-er up-er) Emma also sews a decent seam, and brought me fur from her new bunny. Fibre gifts, a fine quality in a guest.
An award to Denny, who came early to help and stayed late to put a really pretty crochet picot edge on the pink afghan. She also taught Meg the ways of the looped path of crochet...which I'll admit I was never going to teach her.
To Huxley...for being the youngest (and possibly best behaved) of the guests. An honourable mention to his Mum Monika for bringing him, and for all the squares she brought and sewed up. Huxley is pictured here with Amanda, who looks to have forgiven him for having the audacity to be born on her birthday.
To Barbara, for her awesome ability to pull the a pinkish jumble of squares together into something that looked like we had a plan. Brilliant.
For Alison, for channelling Norma on her cell phone (Norma gets the award for "Best Virtual Guest") and for sewing tons, befriending my children, and for not laughing her arse off when she found knitting in my freezer.
Ken and my mother-in-law Carol take the award for "People who knew best what kind of insane plans Stephanie can cook up and came anyway". Ken gets bonus points for being the only man....
Did I miss anyone?
An award for honesty to Joe, who when asked (right before he tore out the door to the studio and didn't come back for 11 hours) if he was staying, smiled sweetly at all the devoted sew-er up-ers and said "Actually, I'm burning to get out of here".
I stayed up last night and finished the edge on the red one....
and the pink one is beyond compare.
It's the best time I've had with yarn in a while, and that's saying something. Thanks for the privilege.
Posted by Stephanie at November 8, 2004 1:55 PM
Those afghans are fabulous. They were put together from random squares? That's incredible. Sounds like you had a fun party.
Beautiful! Lucky Afghans!
oops! It IS going to Afghanistan, right?
Only an amazing group of knitters could put together random squares and come up with such amazingly beautiful afghans. I am in awe.
BookBookBookBookBook! Nice afghans. BookBookBookBook.
I continue the wave until she tells us about the book.
O. My. God. This was the best turnout for a party for Of Strangers By Strangers For Strangers, EVER! The blankies are amazing. Clearly there was an Art Director. And people travelled so far. How big hearted! How jolly! How talented!
THANK YOU EVERYONE EXPECIALLY STEPHANIE!!!
Farklempt in New York,
No no, thank *you*! Really. Fabulous fun. And both blankets look awesome -- wonderful finishing work!
It looks and sounds like the party was an amazing success.
I have one question though.
WHAT kind of knitting do you keep in the freezer?
OOooh, I wish I could have been there with you! ooooh, that looks like fun! OOooooh!
(bookbookbookbook - I'm with Laurie on that one. Tell us which publisher you're going to make wealthy with the fruit of your keyboard!)
Since we had to go early, I loved seeing the photos of the finished blankets. They are so beautiful.
What an honour to have been a tiny part of the process. Stephanie and her entire household were incredible, the house was beautiful and warm. The sewer-uppers were funny and smart and generous.
Yarn Harlot makes really good profiteroles.
Thank you Stephanie! Thank you Stephanie's family!
exciting stuff ! I'm in the red one !!! That's mine, the one with the navy square with the reddy pink stars, though in your honour I have decided if you screw your eyes up right they actually look like maple leaves ... what a fab time. These are seriously covetable blankets now you know, you could pay hundreds for these in some swanky shop.
Ohhhhhh, ahhhhhhh, I LOVE THOSE AFGHANS, both of them. I'm so sad I wasn't there in person. So. Sad. But as I fully expected, you were the hostess with the mostest. Brava!
Oh golly, those are so beautiful. And I hate pink but want the pink one for myself.
I'm going to second (er. Third?) the bookbookbookbookbookbookbook wave. And second the desire to know what knitting lives in the freezer. Was it a naughty project being punished? Or were you field testing something? You know, seeing how well it would hold up to the elements...
Knitting in the freezer? Way to put that project on ice!
I'm so jealous!! This gives me another reason why I need to move back to Western NY, to be closer to fun gatherings such as this!!
WOW - The blankets are amazing and it sounds like a wonderful time!
Beautiful afghans - great color coordination! It looks like you all had a wonderful time, and I got a good laugh out of the fact that it even crossed your mind to replace the electronics mags in the bathroom with the latest IK's. :)
It looks like you all had a great time. I wish I could have come. It looks like one of my squares made it though. How exciting.
Absolutley wonderful afghans!
And I was looking at the new Stitch n' Bitch book - Stitch 'N Bitch Nation (Deb Stoller) this morning...I thought that I saw "A Very Harlot Poncho"....is that the book others are commenting about?
Glad to hear that you (and everyone else!) survived. The Afghans are beautiful.
Knitting in the freezer... isn't that taking the Furnace Wars just a bit too far?
All you ladies (and man) made my heart smile today. Donating your time, energy, and talent for such a worthy cause. The afghans are beautiful, but pale in comparsion to all of you and your generosity. Thanks so much for sharing Steph!!
They are gorgeous. I'm totally inspired. But you are not going to get away with mentioning you had knitting in the freezer and not giving a little more info. Alison may not have laughed her ass off but, I admit, I would have. That is OK, you can point and laugh at me for many of the wierd things I do. And I'm fairly certain I have you beat by a long shot.
Along with Laurie:
BookBookBookBookBook! Nice afghans. BookBookBookBook.
Actually, rippin' cool afghans, great work all!
Cassie: you keep hot knitting like the Mango Tank in the freezer. Not that I would know about such things. Really.
Wow, knitting in the freezer? How did I miss that part? :)
Thank you Steph, for hosting such a great afternoon! I'm so glad the crazy idea panned out. I made good time on the way back- the car was back to the rental place by midnight! The Northern Lights were dancing away pretty much the whole drive, so I was kept entertained.
Those afghans look amazing! Nicely done with the edging. Thanks again!
First, congratulations to all you ladies for dedication to such a worthy cause and a job fabulously completed. Second, sorry I didn't make it... it was very selfish of me thinking of the amount of yarn I could buy for the cost of a plane ticket, instead of the great time I would have had meeting you all and sewing away to my heart's content. And lastly, perhaps it's time to ask if there are others from NS or near-by who would be interested in a sew-up party down this way.
The afghans are beautiful!! :D I gotta figure out how to get invited to one of these parties. I could use the practice and oppurtunity to learn from great sewing-experts. Did I already say the afghans are beautiful?! So pretty!! Amazing job everyone, everywhere!
Staephanie, these afghans are sooo beautiful! My compliments to you and your fellow knitters/finishers. It gives me goosebumps to see the kindness and goodness that you have shown (almost makes up for Bush being re-elected)
Thank you for being a bright light in my day.
This has nothing to do with your entry but - I just got back from knitting circle at my kids' school. I brought then your journal entries for September 16th through 20th. With pictures.
I believe you have a bunch of new fans.
(bookbookbookbookbook. You'll outsell Harry Potter.)
AMAZING!!!! are you going to include directions for the afghans (I am embarrassed to admit that I have never been able to make squares the same size... how did you do that?!!) for all of us out here in blog-land? I would love to make one for my bed and also organize a party like yours to donate 1, 2....? Thanks, as always, for your great humor, knitting finesse and wonderful honesty! book, book, book....
again- a plea for directions! those afgans are just stunning...
i am trying to find out if you just sew together the yarn squares or have cozy flannel backing...
Uhhh...is it weird to have knitting in your freezer? Cuz if it is, then, um....well... shucks. Guilty as charged. Maybe Harlot's knitting-in-the-freezer is the same as my knitting-in-the-freezer? Mine's a version of the Ice Cream Cozy (from Amy Singer's Knit Wit) which refused to be parted from its new best friend, a pint of Ben and Jerry's Oatmeal Crunch. . . if it is the selfsame Cozy, well, then, where ELSE should it be??? I mean, then you always know where it is, and you know your Ben and Jerry's is chastely waiting for you in its spiffy new disguise as Knitwear.
OK metoometoo: bookbookbookbookbook!
I have to be careful, cuz I read Harlot at work, and they look at me funny when I giggle insanely at my computer.
HOLY COW! Stephanie! Everybody! I'm totally awed by your afternoon of squares. The paint looks rilly dry, the afghans look amazingly square, and it's killing me that I wasn't there. Thanks so much for your You Are There coverage so that the rest of us can wallow in the splendor of your hospitalidy.
(I can't believe it actually worked out. If we can engineer an afghan sew-up party in Toronto using squares shipped from New York which were sent from all over which will now be sent to chilly folks in Afghanistan, well. Let's go ahead and get that world peace thing under way.)
(I get to call Tony Blair.)
Oh, Heather - I just knew they were maple leaves - I had to convince a few people, but I knew that's what you meant. Stephanie, believe me, I am not one to laugh at knitting in the freezer. Next time, you come to my house....
Your kids are all great, but much to the entertainment of the guests, they aren't strong in the keeping secrets deparrtment!!
Thank you, Stephanie for hosting such a great party! And you forgot to mention your very endearing and helpful daughters. The finished afghans look great. Hard to believe they are those same mismatched squares from the coffee table!
wow! you guys did a great job! I love the awards..too funny you had to open up windows!
It was a great and honourable pleasure to have been there, taking part in the sewing and chatting. I believe (and sincerely hope with all my heart), that some of our great energies, laughter and warmth will be wrapping around a couple of Afghan people when they get the blankies.
The finishing looks great Steph! I'm also glad Huxley got to meet his b-day buddy and that you had a chance to see him again, and most of all that you got all them great laughs out of him... If there's other sewing and stuff to do with more squares, just gimme a ring-ding..
Thanks for the hosting..
I know why there was knitting in your freezer: you were preparing mohair for frogging.
If I lived six hours closer, or had a drive to the airport, I would have come. I haven't been through the Lester B for a long time . . .
That pink afghan is GORGEOUS!
wow. both of those afghans are amazing!!
My husband doesn't usually read your blog, but because I was at the sewing-up he read today's entry. When he got to the part about electronics magazines in the bathroom he said "SEE?!!"
Those are great afghans, I wish I could have been there....
Wow! How beautiful! Hard to believe they weren't planned in advance. Okay, either the mohair needs untangling, or you're warding off yarn-eating bugs!
They're both beautiful. And it sounds like everyone had a wonderful time. The lucky recipients will know how much thought and care was put into these. Congratulations to all the afghan knitters!
Knitting in the freezer..you get the award for creative stash hiding! and I thought putting my yarn in an old tv box under the gardening tools in the garage was a good hiding place years ago. No one looks past the ice cream container at my house. Hmmmmm the possiblities!
Congrats on the afghans..wish LA people would do fun stuff like that...(I'm still searching the pictures for the squares I sent in) Some amazingly talented folks there!
Utterly beautiful-- both the afghans and all of the kind souls to whom you opened your home. You've all done a lovely, lovely thing here.
Late to the party as ever...but, on behalf of the NYC Division of the Afghan Sew Up Party, NICE WORK!! Brother v. cute btw! Poncho pattern is now on the needles. Thanks
Aara!! I finally get to see YOU!!
stephanie! for such a wonderful time - for opening up your house (not tiny, and untidiness was carefully concealed indeed...) and for the great time that we had on Sunday afternoon. i'm with you on the whole 'trying to explain to strangers' deal. i don't even know where to start. you and your family & all in attendance were so fabulous. torontonians are some Serious Knitters! (we're not worthy...)
By allah, I don't want those blankets sister.
Ann in Kabul
I'm amazed that you have time to do all this and a book too!
What a busy mom you are
In case you don't recognize the last name it used to be Hopper (Steven's my son)
p.s. how can we see aara's daughter's sketch?
guess aara has to start a blog ;-)