When Tina and I go to Port Ludlow to work, we always rent the same house. We do it through the Resort there, and they know that's where we like to stay. We come a lot, we always get it, and it works really, really well. There's enough room to spread out all the Sock Summit stuff, there's space to set up office equipment like a printer and such and there's a little kitchen so we can make coffee and food round the clock like lunatics without people knowing that we're lunatics. The little house is a perfect solution. So a little while ago Tina and I called up The Resort at Port Ludlow and told them that we were coming, and we would need the wee house. They said the house was booked, that a guy was staying there, and offered us a room in the hotel instead. We said we'd think about it. Then we thought about the type of work we were going to be doing, imagined laying out our complex bristol board/post-it system in a hotel room, decided that there wasn't room, and we called them back.
We asked if maybe we could call in a favour, was there anything else we could do? Another house, another weekend... anything? The staff said they would check and get back to us. They called back later that day and said that "the guy" in the house was totally willing to move out for a few days and take a hotel room himself. "Are you sure?" we asked. "No problem" they replied.
I booked plane tickets, Tina packed the Sock Summit World Headquarters into her car, and soon we were pulling into the driveway of our little house. We installed ourselves, and were in the process of laying the immense number of planning boards out on the floor, when (while we were moving a couch to make room for the boards) I found a tiny toy car.
I held it up to Tina. "Oh" she said. "I know" I said.
We'd both realized something at the same time. "A guy" wouldn't have a toy car. Children have toy cars. Did we make "a guy" with a kid move? That seemed bad. Down at the hotel proper for dinner later, we asked, and that's when we found out the truth. It wasn't a guy in the house.
It was a mum.
It was a mum with a two year old.
We felt terrible, and we said so. "It's okay" said the lady on the desk.
"Her baby isn't due for two weeks."
...And with that, Tina and I both heard a crashing noise that was the sound of our Karma hitting the bottom of the bin. The idea that "a guy" had moved to make room for us was one thing, but the idea that a mum 38 weeks pregnant had moved was another. We felt awful, but not as awful as we did when we found out a few other things.
Things like that she was living there with her parents.
Living there with her parents and not her husband because he was in a soldier stationed far away.
Not living in their house because a chunk of their house had BURNED DOWN.
In that instant, we decided we were awful. Awful, horrible people. It didn't matter that we didn't know, it didn't matter that apparently they were the nicest family in the world who didn't mind giving up the house at all because they understood when they rented it that they would occasionally have to vacate it for other clients... as a matter of fact, the fact that they were lovely and accommodating only made it worse. Tina and I decided we were going to try to make it up to them.
A few weeks ago, we got word that the baby had been born, and that it was a girl, and we started trying to figure out how to get out of our guilt, and being knitters, we decided to say "We're sorry" with yarn.
First I knit a sweater for the baby.
Then Tina got busy dyeing yarn, and we got busy planning. Sock Camp was the next week, and we got the campers to help us knit our way out of trouble. First, each tribe got a little project. A hat, a set of booties, a bonnet and a pair of baby socks. Each tribe split the work, a few rounds each, and at the end of camp we had the cutest little pile of knitwear for that baby. That was a good start... but it wasn't quite enough... so we planned something else.
A group blanket. Tina dyed four colours of yarn (It's Geisha, for those of you who will ask) Debbi knit a rectangle in garter stitch, then we picked up stitches all around the rectangle using four circular needles, and joined four balls of yarn, one each of the four colours. Anna Zilboorg, Stephen, Debbi and I started it, and then it was set.
Now four knitters could sit, knee to knee, and each working with their own colour and their own round. With four knitters working at once, four rounds were accomplished - at the same time, with one turn of the blanket.
If you don't quite get what we mean, Anne Hanson (Thanks Anne!) took a cool video of the system at work. (I tried to embed it, I don't think it worked. If not, there's a link to it here. ) Go watch. It's supremely cool.
The blanket got passed around for the whole camp, little knots of four campers at a time each tossing in a round or two. By the time the camp was over we had the centre square and the striped part of the blankie done, and I started my work.
Using one colour at a time, I started putting a feather and fan edge on the blankie.
It took a few several days, but this is what we ended up with.
It's going in the mail tomorrow.
(PS. A special thank you to all the campers for helping Tina and I knit our Karma out of the dumper. We appreciate it.)