Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Snowperson A Day Keeps the Sanity Away

I have to go with that theory, seeing as how the little guys and gals were absolutely no good at warding off the virus I got last week.

But perhaps I should explain myself more fully. Last Christmas, the Things got me some wonderful patterns by Marie Mayhew, which can be purchased at The Yarnery’s terrific online shop.

Let’s be honest. These little snowpeople are just too darn cute, without being nauseatingly cutesy. And Mayhew’s directions are topnotch. I've now knitted the Snowbaby and the Small and Large Woolly Snowman patterns, and there was not a single mistake to be found. Plus she tells you all sorts of helpful information, such as how long various brands and shades of off-white will take to felt, approximately how many stitches per inch you should maintain in order to achieve optimal felting, and how to accessorize your snowpeople with style.

She’s everything a beginner would want in a designer; clear, without being overly simplistic and without having prose that somehow manages to pat you condescendingly on the head while you read. Well worth the purchase.

And following The Yarnery’s cool innovations, I used Trendsetter Yarns’ glittery white Aura in tandem with The Brown Sheep Company’s Nature Spun Natural, for that sunshine-sparkling-on-new-fallen-snow look that all the hip snowpeople like. (And, while I am at it, much thanks to Shelly, The Yarnery's manager, who granted me permission to use her web site's photos.)

To top it off, these do knit up quickly. So that's not the reason I've begun to twitch. No, the lack of sanity I’m currently displaying has nothing to do with the designer, her instructions, or her choices of materials.

It has to do with the fact that I am the geek that thought, “Gee, I should not only make one for Carolina in the Dominican Republic, who’s never seen snow, but maybe for a friend as well and what the heck, one for each of the family!" (Someone please remind me, the next time such an idea springs into my head, that it’s not like I have an only Thing or something. There’s a fair few of them running about my household.) And to top it off, I promised the Things I would knit one for their father so that they could accessorize it and make it its own freezer (dad lives in the south, and no reasonable snowman would venture there without proper temperature back up, you know?).

There’s also the minor detail of the major deadline for getting things to the Dominican Republic so that they are there in time for Christmas and I cheerfully assumed I could get all snowpeople knit and help the Things finish Carolina's Snowbaby's accessories well ahead of that time. (Note: I think we may have already passed the major deadline. I'm afraid to check though.)

I realize that I could have, should have, just done Carolina’s snowbaby and moved on to the others later. But the Nature Spun Natural takes the longest of the all yarns mentioned to felt (figures I’d pick it) and something in me just balked at the idea of running a lone snowbaby through the washer four times. It caused my “don’t waste things” gene to not only stand up and be vocal, but also to get mean and start kicking me in the shins. That hurt. So I decided, good little environmentalist that I am, to knit them all up first, zip each into a little bag and felt everyone at the same time (which is, of course, much different than felting them together. I hope.).

The knitting has been fun and memorizing the patterns was (I told myself) an added bonus of the many snowpeople I was creating. And I managed to keep telling myself that even though people at work thought I was knitting and knitting and never getting anywhere. Is it my fault that I always seemed to be working on the bottom snowball of any given snowperson on my lunch break? I think not. The odd stares I was receiving did cause me to stop and think, though.

I mean, seriously, is it just me, or is there something sort of sadomasochistic about the whole idea of felting? After all, here you are, being encouraged to knit somewhat loosely and sloppily, so that you can use up more yarn and time than you normally might for a project, thus creating something of almost mythical size, all so you can shrink it to a smaller size.

Doesn’t it sound wrong when you put it that way? Does such behavior apply much to the world as we know it? (Outside of office jobs and romance, I mean.)

And if it does, do we really want to know how?

No, probably not.

Ah well. For now, I’m in the homestretch and I am still truthfully charmed by them, no matter how crazy I've decided I am. So all hail to the three babies, two small snowladies, and one large snowman that are completed; only two larges left to go. I am, I must say, a woman with a mission! A woman who really didn’t have all that much sanity to lose anyway! Er, yeah.

(And a woman who woke up to find a ball of Trendsetter’s under her pillow this morning, but that’s another story.)


Marie Mayhew said...

I hear ya. Your praise makes it all worth while to keep creating my patterns. I truly appreciate your support of my designs and my writing. I have a lot of ideas in my head and sometimes you wonder if it makes sense at all. Thank you.

Marie Mayhew said...

Thank you for the wonderful compliment. I have so many ideas in my head at times, it can get hard to get them all down on paper in a readable manner. I understand them, but does anyone else? Thanks for the supporting me in so many ways.

SunshineDreams said...

You're more than welcome. I hope you do continue to create! Your patterns are just such fun.

Just wait until I move on to the bird's nest Christmas tree ornament you designed. Me and felting needles--what will I be subjecting the blogworld to then?

Probably a story about me jabbing serious holes in my fingers... ;) I mean, you are taking about the person who somehow managed to publish your comments twice--with me, anything is possible. Scary, huh?

NeedleTart said...

Tried to comment yesterday and screwed it all up. Love the Snowpeople and must have the pattern. Thanks for enabling. Seriously. I have dozens of snowpeople I put on the mantle in the winter but none are knit (quilted, carved, painted, glass, ceramic. yes, but no knitted) Whee.

NeedleTart said...

Yes, I ordered. I was so excited that I ordered the snowpeople pattern, put through the whole order and *then* checked the rest of the site to find out that I needed to order the accesories separately. Which, of course, I did. Now I am knitting madly, so I can start on snowpeople as soon as the patterns arrive (and I get some more yarn. Whee. More yarn!)