Yesterday was my parents' 40th wedding anniversary. (Yep, their wedding date was 6-9-69. Heh.)
I am not a complete idiot. I have known this was coming for a long time. And in and among the job, the commute, laundry, parenting, relationshipping, knitting, designing, bill-paying, toilet-cleaning, bag-packing, appointment-going, etc. etc. ad nauseum, I have been trying to think of what on earth I could give them that would adequately mark this auspicious occasion. And I came up pretty blank. My mom gets upset if we spend a lot of money, and indeed, we don't have a lot of money to spend. I wanted something personal and meaningful and my brain - probably overloaded with the pressure of having to come up with something Deeply Symbolic - was just not bringing forth a damn thing.
Until Friday. At work.
It suddenly hit me that I could knit my parents scarves. They both use scarves. Handknitted scarves are meaningful and cherishable, and I could make them in red, to symbolise the fact that this was their Ruby Anniversary. Of course, it was absolutely ridiculous to believe that from the time I got home on Friday to early evening on Monday when we were to leave for the anniversary dinner, I could somehow manage to knit two scarves. Nevertheless, as my brain finally started to make a few key realisations, things started to feel Meant To Be, and I decided to go for it. Things which convinced me:
- I remembered that I already had some gorgeous rubyish fingering weight bamboo in the stash.
- I found the Dayflower Cowl by Doggrell Designs.
- I could use my husband's scarf pattern for my dad's scarf, and thus my husband could end up being a major player in the gift as well.
- Using my husband's scarf pattern would be an awesome testing opportunity, as my husband eventually wants to sell it as a fundraiser of some kind in honour of his mom.
- My husband could swing by our LYS while I was at work and get the yarn I needed for my dad's scarf, thus saving me valuable knitting time.
Alas, that last point was not possible, as my husband was working outside all day and thus never heard the phone the three times I called. Also it turns out that finding the right red yarn for my dad's scarf was not as easy as I thought it would be - when I did manage to hit the LYS on Saturday morning with the girls, I spent an inordinate amount of time dithering between Cascade 220 (which was the right feel but the wrong colour) and Briggs & Little Regal (which was 100% the right colour but too scratchy for my taste). I went with the Regal, but I took forever to decide and I'm sure June, the owner, thinks I'm quite silly for all the fretting I did. :)
Not too far into Saturday's effort, I was sure I would be able to finish my mom's scarf. And indeed I did. I finished it not too far past midnight, and blocked it right away. It was fantastic:
I did a lot of fiddling with the pattern, actually. I just used the lace motif instead of following the actual pattern to make a cowl. I used the "Chain Edging" from page 148 of Nicky Epstein's "Knitting on the Edge" book (which totally has an error - it reduces down to a multiple of nine stitches, not eight!) and did garter stitches five stitches wide on each side. I knit until the first of two balls was gone, ending with a Row 8, then put the live stitches on a holder and did a second half exactly like the first. Then I grafted the two halves together, and - tadah! - loveliness. Very proud of this one.
My dad's scarf did not, alas, go so quickly. I thought I might, MIGHT be able to make it, but the second repeat of the pattern (the scarf needs six altogether) went so slowly. I don't know what happened, because the first repeat seemed to take way less time. At any rate, I was only about half done by the time we had to leave for the dinner. Fortunately, although I still feel deep shame about this, my parents don't seem to mind.
The fact that my daughters also gave them some pretty awesome art may have had something to do with that. :) We broke out the fancy-schmancy watercolour paper and let them have at it - the elder with real watercolour paints, and the younger with all the crayons and stickers she could handle. (She ended up shunning the stickers, though.)
We all had a lovely evening. Congrats, Mom and Dad - I love you like crazy and I love that you love each other more and more with each passing year. Your union has been a gift and an inspiration to everybody who knows you. Let's hear it for forty more years.