Once upon a time there was a knitter in Toronto. She had a friend who used a wheelchair who had an obsession with Tiger stuff. (The knitter, who has no such quirk , tries not to think this an odd thing for a grown woman with a really respectable education and intelligence to be concerned with). The friend loved Tiger prints, Tiger stories...tiger everything.
The knitter often thought of knitting something sort of "Tigerish" for her friend, but all she could ever find was sweaters with intarsia tigers on the front, and frankly, no matter how decent a tiger pattern that is (and it seems to be pretty good) and no matter how much her friend would just plotz if she opened up a box with that in it, there is, quite frankly, a much better chance that the knitter will take up the science of "Yak husbandry" before lunchtime than that she will haul off and knit that bit of business.
Now, because the friend uses a wheelchair the knitter makes her a lot of socks. (There is much gratification in knitting a beautiful pair of socks for someone who will not only handwash and love them deeply, but will never, ever take a single step in them. They last forever.) Considering the knitters obsession with sock yarn and the non-walking friends obsession with tigers, it was really only a matter of time until destiny revealed the existence of "Opal Tiger" sock yarn.
This sock yarn is discontinued. This sock yarn is a legend. This sock yarn is just the ticket.
The knitter began a search.
She tried yarn shops. (This was sheer folly. I don't know what I was thinking there, maybe that the whole world could want this yarn, hunt it like a band of demons but that somehow the moment I wanted it I would find a ball of it 50% off sitting right in Romni wool. Yeah. I crack me up.) She hunted the stash, thinking that perhaps she had bought it and forgotten about it. (I didn't, but how funny would that be after I'd scoured North America?) She even tried dyeing some plain yarn to make her own Tiger yarn, but that was a disaster of such epic hideousness that it shall not be spoken of. She tried Ebay...but either none was for sale or the price was so incredibly ridiculous ($50 skein) that even if the knitter were absolutely made of money, even if money fell of her while she walked she could never bring her frugal little soul to spend that much on a single ball of sock yarn...even if it is rare and even if she does normally stash yarn in a manner that would at least suggest that she thought it "collectable".
For years the knitter travelled Canada and the US and everywhere she went she looked for the tiger yarn. She saw some very nice yarns, (and she brought many of them home to live with her) and she even found the fabled "Opal" yarn, but it only made things worse. Now that she knew the joys of the beautiful Opal yarn, she only wanted the Tiger yarn more.
One day, when the knitter was (rather co-incidentally, actually) rooting through her stash of sock yarns looking for something to make her friend for Christmas (or shortly thereafter, since the friend understands about Christmas, knitting and the sort of conflicts that the Knitter endures that time of year) she heard the letter carrier come.
Thinking that it would be the gas bill for sure, the knitter reluctantly kicked a path to her front door (her house is a little untidy) to get the mail.
Imagine the joy the knitter felt when she found a package from Elizabeth! (Elizabeth had previously sent the knitter some knitting needles, proving that she knows our knitter very well indeed, since this knitter is the only knitter she knows who adores those shiny thin metal needles that come in colours). The knitter knew that what was inside would be very good.
When she opened the package her heart skipped a beat. Not only was there the yummy Opal yarn that the knitter covets...there was a ball of the Tiger yarn. Now this desire for the Tiger yarn to please her friend was a secret wish, and the knitter had never revealed it to anyone, so the arrival of Elizabeth's Tiger Opal was happy kismet, and pretty much required that the knitter have a little lie down for the rest of the day.
When her joy had abated enough to let her stand, she immediately cast on the Tiger socks and knit them with great speed and happiness. (Until she got really bored midway through the second one, but that's really quite normal and doesn't make for a good story.)
Then she gave them to her friend who totally did plotz, (although I hope she isn't pissy about not getting the sweater) and even took this picture when the knitter forgot to photograph them before sending them over.
Lene would like to thank Elizabeth for whatever sort of crazy-voodoo-hidden-camera-ESP thingie she has going on. Good call.
Late Breaking News:
(added at 3:30pm)
Megan from Lettuce Knit has just called to tell me that the book is in stock. This is an enormous relief, since it was starting to appear that the city in which the book was written was going to be the last place to get it, just to thwart my desire to spot one in the wild.
I will be going to the Stitch and Bitch tonight to visit the book in it's natural habitat. Don't mock me if I buy one.