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.