The ramblings of a working, knitting, writing wife and mother.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

100 Random Facts About Me

1. I am a middle child. My older sister is 22 years older than me. My younger sister is 16 months younger. We all have the same parents.
2. I was an aunt when I was born, and had two nephews and a niece before I was six. I also had a great-nephew before I had my first baby. Currently, I have four nephews, three nieces, and that great-nephew who makes me feel old.
3. My father died of a heart attack one week before I turned ten. My sisters and I light a candle for him every October 26.
4. The best job I ever had was the one for which I was paid the least amount of money. (Barn crew for a dude ranch. I rode horses all day.)
5. The worst job I ever had was being a political phone survey person. Be nice to them, please. I assure you: they don’t know what time it is, they have no idea that you just came home from the hospital or a funeral, they don’t know you are late already for your job, and they had no idea that you’re on the Do Not Call List. Their computer dialed some numbers, and they take the verbal abuse. Cut them some slack and just hang up silently. You’ll both be relieved.
6. The only job I ever walked out on was the phone survey one. I lasted a whole two weeks.
7. I type 100 words per minute on average, though my personal best is 153 with 100% accuracy. At one time, I was the fastest typist in the state of Idaho.
8. Despite my typing, I cannot play the piano.
9. I do play the clarinet decently well.
10. I have a birthmark behind my left knee. It’s my only one.
11. I was born with clubfeet and spent most of my childhood walking in shoe supports of one kind or another.
12. I love the idea of scary movies, but hate actually watching them.
13. I think crunchy chocolate (Crunch bars, stuff with rice puffs in it) tastes gross.
14. I also hate pudding unless it is Rice.
15. I adore black jellybeans and licorice of any and all sorts (haha! Allsorts!)
16. I can do word search puzzles practically at the speed of light. It’s like my superpower. Do not race me. You will lose.
17. I have never lost a game of Blurt.
18. My husband once threatened never to take me out to dinner since I had to proofread the menu before ordering every place we went.
19. I did not exist for six months since I was secretly driving around delivering propane with my husband. Best Time of My Life.
20. I can pack an astonishing amount of stuff into the tiniest of suitcases. I do all our family’s packing.
21. I moved three times during the nine months of my pregnancy.
22. I hate to drive and will go to great lengths to avoid it, particularly if I’m driving with someone.
23. I love long car trips – if I’m not driving.
24. I knit – a lot.
25. I Love to see the look on a visitor’s face when they come in and see the yarn on the entertainment center. Should they comment, which I secretly hope they will, I adore seeing their jaws drop when I casually say that the stuff up there is just the sock yarn. The real stash is in the basement.
26. I can knit an adult sock in seven hours. I can knit a pair of baby socks in three.
27. I don’t have as much yarn as people think I do, but I do have enough yarn to knit without buying a single yard more than 100 pairs of socks, more than 20 sweaters, and a whole bunch of toys.
28. I crochet too, but save that for toys and afghans. Knitting is for clothes.
29. I am an Introvert with a Capital I. If I lived in Japan, I would be seriously tempted to become a Hikikomori and never leave my house.
30. Men over 50 make me nervous. I pretend very well that they don’t and have no explanation for this particular phobia.
31. I am very closed, but friendly. It takes a long time for me to open up to people.
32. My favorite book is the Little Prince.
33. My favorite movie is Samurai X.
34. I have not voluntarily turned on a television since I was in high school except the one time I watched Final Contact. I wish that I hadn’t.
35. I have never sent a text message and did not own a cell phone until I was graduated from college.
36. I graduated with a BA in English, minoring in Spanish.
37. I freak out a lot of Spanish speaking people who do not expect the blonde, blue-eyed person to know their language.
38. I would rather sing a solo than give a speech.
39. This did not stop me from giving the valedictorian address at my high school.
40. I can sing in most languages except French. The French is beyond my verbal capability.
41. I almost always rehearse what I want to say in my mind before I say it. It doesn’t usually help, and I stutter anyway.
42. I keep my mouth shut most of the time to avoid the stutter. It gets worse if I’m nervous. (Which probably makes a lot of men over 50 wonder about me.)
43. I automatically look away when talking to someone. I have to focus very hard to look someone in the eye while speaking.
44. I lose the stutter if I’m telling a story. It’s the only time when talking is easy, dramatics are fun, and I enjoy someone listening and paying attention to what I’m doing.
45. My pet peeve is when people leave kitchen cupboards open.
46. When I was young, I read the Bible and Bible stories exclusively.
47. I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and love it.
48. I do not wear makeup, but have only been asked once if it was part of my religion.
49. I love to read, fantasy books are my favorite. (Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, and Katherine Kerr particularly)
50. I also write; my English emphasis was creative writing.
51. To date, I have published two poems, one even for money, and two short stories.
52. I was once told by an English professor that A work from everyone else was C work coming from me.
53. The only B+ I received in college was from a math class.
54. In high school, I had two fan clubs: one in Kansas and the other in London.
55. I have been engaged three times.
56. I’m very grateful for all the relationships I’ve had that didn’t work. I’m much happier (and I’m sure they are too), that I have Rich and they have their sweet wives and lovely families. I’m also grateful that I’m on relatively good terms with all of them.
57. Pregnancy was very easy for me. I don’t know why I was so scared of it for so long.
58. I own a school bus.
59. I hate to eat in public and will not do it by myself. On the flip side, I also don’t like eating with a group. Eating with my family is ok.
60. I hate to ask for favors. It makes me anxious, and I have been reduced to tears when my husband asked me to ask a neighbor for an egg. I Cannot Do That. I would rather drive fifty miles to the store and buy the eggs than go next door and ask.
61. I have no trouble doing favors when other people ask. Egg? Sure! Ride to the store? Ok. Use my computer? No problem! This doesn’t make sense, but I don’t know how to change.
62. According to those funny personality tests, I have the most rare personality in the world. Slightly less than 1% of the population shares my personality type. I wonder where they are and if we’d get along.
63. I love symbolism – probably why I became an English major.
64. I can write a 3-5 page explication paper on any poem in forty minutes. This skill saved my college career.
65. I desperately wish that I could draw or paint.
66. I used to dance and once won a bronze medal in a college competition for my Foxtrot.
67. I adore listening to the mourning doves and sand hill cranes.
68. Fall is my favorite season, and Halloween is my favorite holiday.
69. I wish I lived in Maine.
70. I love sushi and wish I could eat it every day.
71. I hate to bake, but have been told that I’m pretty good at it.
72. I dream often of my best friend in high school. I always beg her forgiveness and wake up crying.
73. The dream I dislike the most is the one where I lose one of my teeth.
74. I have super spit (it has extra minerals in it and is a genetic thing). This means my teeth are extremely healthy, but I am rather prone to gum disease. It also means I can dissolve a hard candy in my mouth faster than you can.
75. I wore braces for four years, had multiple teeth extracted, and HATE the feeling of wet gloves in my mouth or on my face.
76. When I go to the dentist and get an X-ray, I have to use the child’s mouthpiece since my mouth is tinier than normal.
77. I love having my feet held, no massaging necessary.
78. I adore thunderstorms.
79. I watch Japanese animation and have not grown out of it yet. Watching that particular artwork helps me to write.
80. I can tie a cherry stem into a knot with my tongue, but I cannot fold it.
81. I have not grown out of playing with dolls, and I can’t wait for my daughter to play with me someday.
82. My favorite colors are black, blue, silver, and lilac. My least favorite colors are orange and yellow.
83. I think lists are fun (thus this one!), and I love crossing things off a list or using something up. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.
84. I slept with one teddy bear until I got married, and now if Rich is ever gone overnight, the bear still comes into bed with me.
85. I wear hand-knit socks every day, and I can go for a month without wearing the same pair twice.
86. I had my ears pierced three times since I am allergic to nickel.
87. I wish I had some tattoos – a scorpion on my shoulder blade, a Chinese dragon around my ankle, and the phases of the moon down my arm. I will never get any of them.
88. My greatest ambition is to publish a novel that is later made into a movie.
89. I once knit costumes for a movie, one of which was worn by Danny Trejo. I am behind the scenes a lot in that movie and love to watch it with people to tell them that I’m hiding behind a mattress or just out of the camera range.
90. I find bald men mysteriously attractive.
91. I strive to treat everyone equally and with the benefit of the doubt.
92. I want to adopt an orphan girl from Asia and name her Hikari.
93. I can hit a target with a .45 rifle at 300 yards with open sights while standing up.
94. I was once hit by a car on my way to work. A truck driver pulled into the intersection, stopped traffic, and proceeded to call the police. I stopped him, thanked him, and explained that I was going to be late if I stayed for all that nonsense. It didn’t hurt until much later.
95. While I was in college, I engaged in self-harm. I wear orange and white on March 1 to show support and prove that quitting is possible.
96. I love musicals.
97. I have a powerful memory. I can memorize whole movies, pluck trivial details out of the air, and remember events in my life from when I was two until now. This helps me in my jobs, but gives me a disproportionate sense of time passing. My memory of an event is so clear that it must have happened last year when in reality, it was ten.
98. The first memory I have is of being passed through a Dairy Queen window to my older sister who showed me off and asked me to wave at her co-workers. I didn’t do it, but I don’t know why.
99. Every month, I get a migraine that lasts for three days and makes me feel like the left side of my face is melting. Sometimes I can work through it.
100. People tell me that I am funny. And crazy. I think they're related.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gryffin's Red Sweater: A BJD Photostory

Gryffin: "Guess who!"

Kotori: "Gryffin!" Giggling, "You startled me!"

Gryffin: "Sorry."
Kotori: "You made me drop your shirt and everything."

Kotori: "I just finished sewing your button back on. See? Good as new."

Gryffin: "You're right! By the way, speaking of new, isn't that a new sweater?"

Kotori: "Sure is. Isn't it lovely? Your mom made it for me. It's so soft."

Gryffin: "Mmmm, you're right. It looks good on you, but I wonder . . ."
Kotori: "What?"

Gryffin: "I wonder why my mom made one for you and, um, not me."
Kotori: "Well, probably because girls like these kinds of things better than boys do. But I bet she'd make you a sweater if you asked her."

Gryffin: "Thanks again for fixing my shirt, Kotori. You're the best."
Kotori: "No problem, but where are you going?"

Gryffin: "I'm going to find Mom to ask her for a sweater."

Gryffin: "Hey there, Mom. I knew I'd find you here. Whatcha working on?"

Mom: "Hi Gryffin. Yeah, I'm trying to get this sweater done."
Gryffin: "Sweater? Hey, isn't this your special Opal Harry Potter yarn?"
Mom: "Yes, it is." (Thinking: Wow, I can't believe you noticed . . . but why do you sound so hopeful?"

Mom: "It's going to be a baby sweater for my new nephew. See? Nice, huh?"
Gryffin: Oh . . yeah, I guess so."

Gryffin: "How much longer do you think it will take? Could I help speed it up a little? I could use these!"

Mom: "No, that's all right Gryffin, but I can't help but wonder why you're so interested all of a sudden?"
Gryffin: "Well . . . I just saw Kotori's new sweater, and, I was hoping you could make one for me?"

Mom leans back her head to laugh.
Gryffin: "What's so funny?"
Mom: "Sorry, Gryffin. I never thought you'd be so anxious to have a hand-knit sweater. I thought most boys your age tried to pretend they didn't have mothers, much less ask them to knit stuff. But, you don't have to worry. I've already started your sweater."

Gryffin: Where? Can I see it?"
Mom: "It's there in the basket."
Gryffin: "Uh . . . where?"

Mom: "Right here."

Gryffin: "Cool, but, um, Mom, it's blue."
Mom: "Of course. Don't you like blue?"

Gryffin: "Well, yeah, but it's kind of small, don't you think?"
Mom: "I'm following the pattern exactly."

Mom: "But now that you hold it up like that, it does look a little small, doesn't it? I'll have to start over and make it bigger."

Gryffin: "Sorry, Mom, but hey, it's not like you were almost finished or anything. Hey! What's this for?"
Mom: "Oh, that's just some leftovers from another project I haven't put away yet."

Gryffin: "I really like it. What a nice color."

Gryffin: "Nice and cozy too."

Mom (laughing): "All right, I get it. I'll knit you a RED sweater this time."
Gryffin: "I'll just leave it right here for you then. Right here on top."

Gryffin: "So maybe you should take a break with that baby sweater. It looks sort of boring, and it's blue too, you know."

Gryffin: "And it's actually pretty cold in here, don't you think? It'd be great to have something warm to curl up in."
Mom: "You know. . . I'll get done a lot faster if certain someones stopped hinting and maybe did a few of my chores so I had more time to knit."

Gryffin: "Oh! Say no more! I'll get right on that. So you just, you know, knit as much as you want. Do you want me to put a movie in for you to listen to? How about a soda? Do you want a soda? And maybe we could order a pizza for dinner so you wouldn't have to cook?"
Mom: "Gryffin ---"

Gryffin: "Ok! I'm going. See you around, Mom."
Mom: chuckles to herself and tries to knit a little faster.

Th End

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Word About the Dolls

Since they will feature so much in this blog, and some of you might be wondering why there are so many pictures of them and so few of my living daughter, I give you the truth. First of all - the dolls let me pose them, tell stories about them, and Hold Still for their picture to be taken. Not so with the baby. Second of all - I can knit tons of sweaters for them even in LA and they will never once be uncomfortable in the stifling heat seeing as they are made of resin. There will be baby pictures, but not as many, and it's not because I love my daughter less than dolls. It's because I love her so much, I usually am so absorbed with her that I forget to pick up a camera. I'm working on this problem since I know someday I will pine for more pictures of her darling baby face. In the meantime, though, I wanted to have a word about the dolls (resin, vinyl, BJD and baby) -

My relationship with dolls throughout my life is rather the same as with my English degree. I know that being drawn to miniatures in stores is probably the same kind of unhealthy / unproductive / unconventional behavior that drew me to poetry, children’s lit, and creative writing. I realize that the ability to explicate any poem in a 3 – 5 page paper in forty minutes looks about as nutty to the outsiders as when I knit an itsy bitsy jacket for a fifteen-inch piece of finely sculpted vinyl. I know this. I’ve been told this. People who see me eyeing the new Disney water babies in Wal-Mart think I just need to have a baby of my own. People who know I’m an English major automatically assume I’m a teacher, then get confused as to what I do because I’m not. Then someone usually mentions the joke about the differences between pizzas and Engish majors. (The difference being that pizzas can feed a family of four.)

It’s taken a long time to get where I am, but now that I’m finally here, I will say this. My non-teaching English degree brings in enough for me to buy pizza whenever I want, and I have never once regretted it. When people sigh that they could never find satisfaction trying to figure out where commas go, I rejoice because it means that I have more job security because I do. And for every poor writer in the world, there is another reason for me to have done what I’ve done.

And it gives me the funds for my other misunderstood hobby – the dolls.

Tara's rainbow

The first thing I ever saved my allowance for was a Cabbage Patch doll named Elizabeth. Since the doll cost $14.99 plus tax and my allowance was a whole $1.25 per week, I was no stranger to delayed gratification. My mother would allow my sister and I to visit Elizabeth (and my sister’s twin object of affection, Anne) often as we obsessively counted our quarters, hoping that this time there would magically be one more than last time.

Opening that box and finally taking Elizabeth out from behind that plastic window was so fulfilling. She smelled like baby powder. She had a squeaker in her chest that I didn’t know about even after reading the box so often. Anne had a rattle. We cuddled these dollies, and they have survived every purging of our rooms and every garage sale. They were the first. They are worth a hundred times the $14.99 we saved for them. Even though I don’t play with Elizabeth now, I look forward to passing her on to another generation of doll lovers.


There were other dolls, but most of my childhood was spent in the normal (now non-vogue) pastime of playing Barbies with Kelly. We had shoes, dresses, pets, cars, accessories, the works. We never tired of playing Barbies; sometimes we spent whole afternoons with just the set up. There were fifteen dolls in my Barbie family, (a similar number in Kelly’s) and they needed somewhere to live, places to sleep, bundled up sweaters that turned into couches, stairs made of Encyclopedias, and Kelly even set up a working pulley elevator in one of her more glamorous creations (hers were always better than mine). We laughed so hard over our make believe. Our dolls had names, histories. They didn’t just dress up, oh no, they went on vacation. They went to school. They had boyfriends who eventually became husbands. They learned how to say no to drugs. They learned consequences to actions. And we never once thought how tiny her waist was except when we were having trouble pulling on a certain pair of pants over her oddly out of proportion hips.

The inevitable happened, of course. We started doing other things, reading books from the adult section, going to schools with bigger homework schedules. We got jobs. The Barbies and all the rest were put aside in containers. There were times we would look at our old dolls, plenty of times where we would talk about how much fun we had, and one disappointing evening when we, as teenagers, took them from their boxes and tried to play with them, just for old times’ sake.

We discovered then that it wasn’t just lack of time that was making it hard to get together to build couches out of bundled up sweaters. We couldn’t do it. The magic was gone. The dolls wouldn’t talk. It wasn’t funny anymore. We concluded that we had just grown out of them. They went back into the box, a little piece of our childhood we wanted to preserve. Right next to my Samantha American girl doll that I always thought was much too nice to play with.

I moved on, trying to do grown up things. I went to college. I learned to knit. I learned to explicate. I pretended that those things didn’t interest me the way they once did, saying “oh yeah, it was so fun” instead of confessing how deeply I missed it, how much I wanted it back. I never could completely lie to myself. It showed in my knitting. Where other people were devouring patterns for pretty lace scarves, I was knitting toy turtles. I browsed amigurumi websites to find cuter animals, better toys. I bought everything Jean Greenhowe ever designed and continued to lie to myself. There were so many babies being born around me, it was easy to say that I was just doing this for gifts for them. I even had talked myself into believing that I wanted all of it for my eventual children. I was just thinking ahead to their childhoods, not pining for my own.


So I knit felted hedgehogs and crocheted monkeys for all the babies I knew about. It made me feel a little better. And then one day, I found a lovely pattern for a blessing dress that needed a doll to wear it for me. I bought a baby doll, and I was embarrassed by how much I loved her. I put her to sleep where I could see her. I delighted in touching her perfect little face.


And I agreed with people when they told me I was just wishing I could be a mommy. It was true; I did want a real live baby to cuddle. I got pregnant, and in my frenzy I bought a lot of other dolls ranging from twenty inches to five, all for the sake of giving my daughter the same happy experiences I had when I was young. Her five-inch dolly would have a bassinette purse bed and lots of hand made clothes. Her twenty-inch darling would wear her heirloom blessing dress until she could pass it on to her own girl. I had so many plans. Still do, actually.

It’s easy to pretend you’re doing it all for your children when you’re buying $15 dolls at Wal-Mart, but I always have to take it one step further. I saw a picture while browsing doll clothes patterns of a breathtaking doll, one that I had never seen before, and it stopped me in my tracks. I asked questions and discovered it was an Asian Ball-Jointed Doll. I did some more research and found that getting one wasn’t as easy or cheap as stopping by my nearest toy store. These dolls were an investment, and so worth it.

I made lots of excuses for why I was looking at them. They are fully customizable; I could make them look however I wanted. I could knit for them, testing my designs on a smaller scale to save time knitting them full-size until I was sure everything was the way I wanted. I could knit clothes to sell using them as models since people in this hobby are used to spending what something is really worth. I could make books by taking pictures of them, enhancing my writing abilities that had dwindled during my secretarial day-jobs. I had so many reasons, but the truth was that I thought they were beautiful, and I wanted one.

Fortunately, I had some money at my disposal. I’d worked for years on Saturday mornings for a newspaper, and every cent of that job went to a savings account just for me. My yarn fund. By the time of my doll discovery, I had enough in there for two dolls, a lovely boy and girl from China. I bought them, and had to wait nine weeks for them to be made and shipped to me. It was like saving and waiting for that Cabbage Patch kid all over again.

And when they finally did arrive, they were even more beautiful than I’d hoped they would be. Their faces, their tiny joints, their expressions, their potential. I gloried in them. And for the first time in years, I played with dolls. I didn’t expect to. I thought I would just look at them, pose them, knit for them, but I didn’t think I would actually play with them.

But I did, making up histories, giving them full names and birthdays, and suddenly I found myself right back in the days when Kelly and I had so much fun. That feeling we were trying to recreate when we were teenagers on that so disappointing day was right here with me and my ball-jointed investment.


Sure, they were expensive. Sure, they took a long while to get here, and sure, I know that I’m too old for this. But to me, to be able to experience all over again those happiest memories, makes them worth everything. So that’s why I’m posing them all over my house and taking their picture. That’s why I’m figuring out how to scale down a sweater and knitting doll blankets. None of this is worthless because someday there is going to be a little girl with her Barbie dolls who is going to come to me and say, “Mommy? Will you play with me?”

And I will not have to say that I can’t, because I won’t have forgotten how.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Those People at Knit Picks

I tell you what – those people at Knit Picks have my number and they call it frequently. If I were to only purchase yarn from one supplier for the rest of my life, it would be them. They have everything I could possibly want, and most of the time it’s kitted up in gorgeous bags of temptation. Sock yarn, wool, superwash, tweed, it’s all there. . . and it’s all yours for a song!

They are the only company who made me think for more than one second that perhaps, just maybe, I should purchase all the available colors of Palette. All 100 colors at less than $2 a ball. That’s 23,100 YARDS of yarn, people, and I really thought that I needed it because Knit Picks had it in a kit, and even though they offered no suggestions as to what you would do with all that yarn, it all seemed so possible.

I pulled myself back from the brink at the last moment on the 100 balls of Palette offer, but you see what they do to me? They throw some yarn together, tell me I can make a breathtaking sweater (as shown here in blue), slap a $35 price tag on it and suddenly I’m thinking, “Yeah! Steeks couldn’t be that hard, could they? I could totally whip that out in a week and I’ll be suddenly transformed into a creature of elegance and sophistication.”

And then, after they have your attention with that amazing sweater kit for only $35, then they remind you amiably that if you purchase a mere $25 more of their wonderful yarny goodness, they will mail it to you For Free. Well! I can’t tell you how often I have browsed their site, picking out a few skeins of sock yarn here and there that I absolutely do not need, just to bring that total over the $50 mark so I could qualify for free shipping. That’s $50 yarn purchases at one time! Who does that? I don’t know, but I bet I’m not the only one.

I have about twelve of these sweater kits in a box in my basement that are neither elegant nor sophisticated because they are still lovely little balls of color nestled in their original bag, but the potential that rests with them is overwhelmingly inspiring. I also have hundreds of grams of sock yarn strewn all over the house, ready to grab at a moment’s notice should the perfect pattern come along. They rest, two by two, perfect little orbs of wool, just waiting to become baby sweaters, lace stockings, cabled tams, whatever my little heart desires!

Not that all the yarn I’ve ever bought from Knit Picks just sits around waiting for me to build a little shrine around it. Nay, verily, there is quite a bit that has been knit and even gifted. Yes, that’s right. I bought it, knit it, and then allowed it to leave my presence. Sometimes the turn around time for these events is less than a month. I’ve knit thousands of yards of Shine Sport into turtles that have gone to live in every part of the world. I’ve knit silk ties as Christmas gifts. I’ve given away dozens of pairs of socks, every one a luxurious prize. I bought a single ball of white Palette and turned it into three dozen tiny snowmen ornaments to give to all the people I work with at the lab, complete with teeny scarves and miniscule embroidered branch arms. My husband sports a magnificent green hat knit from a superwash merino in a World War II pattern that has been in every movie about that war since its creation. So many happy projects. So many more awaiting me.

This month’s struggle (I don’t actually get $50 worth of yarn a month. It’s more like every six months or so, but I have to talk myself out of a lot), started innocently. My mother, sainted soul, managed to lose a mitten I knit her in 2003. These mittens were so boring I can’t believe I let someone else see them. Plain, dull mittens knit in plain, dull Wool-Ease blue heather. Nothing remarkable about them at all, but I wasn’t a very good knitter in 2003, so I thought, of course, that they were quite awesome.

So, my mother requested I knit another mate so she can have her boring, blue mittens back again. And I technically could do it. I still have some blue heather somewhere in a bin that’s probably enough for a worthless little mitten. But I want to do something better, something more befitting the woman who brought me into existence and had the patience to keep me alive for years and years. She just needs something, I don’t know, nicer.

I looked around and found some absolutely stunning mitten patterns, finally settling on Wintertime for Adriana by Spillyjane. They are exquisite. They have a calm, soothing snowy forest and poinsettia flowers knit into them. They require six colors and patient attitude. They will force me to concentrate on counting and knitting with more than one color at a time. Magnificent mittens.

The best part? The recommended yarn is Knit Picks Palette. Suddenly this pattern has been catapulted from being exquisite to essential. I WILL knit these mittens for my mother for Christmas, and she will be astounded by my love and ability. I click over to the Knit Picks site and gleefully add to my virtual cart Palette in Spearmint, Pimento, Ivy, Blush, and Garnet Heather (no need to purchase the white, seeing as I, um, already have some leftover from the snowmen. No need to be extravagant. If I’d wanted to be extravagant, I would have bought the whole Palette kit, right? Moderation in all things!). And even though I talk myself out of the white – I can’t help but think what else I could buy that would bring my total over the $50 mark. All I need is $40 more.

I think about upcoming birthdays and Christmases. Is anyone having a baby that could use a turtle? Are there any new colors of sock yarn? Click.

OH! THERE ARE! Look! The new Felici colorways have come out. Felici is an extra-special soft brand of self-striping sock yarn. The colors are always limited. Felici dyes eight or so at a time, then they allow them to sell out before replacing them with a whole new batch of colors. The old colors? Gone FOREVER. The last time a new line came out, it included a Rainbow colorway that sold out in a few days. That’s right. Days! I was lucky enough to purchase one (because I needed a few more dollars for that free shipping again) and I’m going to knit my daughter a pair of socks with it one day. I got it into my head that maybe I had been too frugal in just purchasing one, but when I went back, the Rainbow was gone.

But what’s this? The Felici people are not stupid. New colors are always exciting, but apparently they know a winner when they see it. There’s the Rainbow colorway again even though the Felici pride themselves on never duplicating a color. I’m not so conservative this time – I dump 200g of the stuff in my cart. Great. $20 left to go. There are usually some nice kits for sale around that price.

I mosey to the kit section to see what they’ve got. Sock kits are a personal poison, but I’m lucky this time around that all of them seem to include colors that I find not attractive. (Honestly? Who wears mustard yellow on their feet? What would that possibly match? Your favorite vomit colored blouse? Yuck.) There are other kits for things I’m equally not drawn to – hats and mittens knit from chunky wool, a kit for three baby bibs, a kit where you can knit about fifteen cup cozies that I, ahem, already own. It’s for the lab! I’m going to knit the fifteen cup cozies for those dear scientists who live on coffee and the possibility that this time they look at their frozen bacteria under that microscope they will indeed get the Image that they so desire. My love knows no bounds.

Wait a second! Wasn’t there a sweater kit that I was drooling over not too long ago? Yes, I remember now. The Dogwood Blossoms sweater, a kit that comes with about thirty balls of Palette and would probably take me three years to knit. I wanted the blue version, and it’s, you guessed it, $35. That will more than qualify me for free shipping. I click around the site. No sweater kit. I click around the patterns. No sweater kit. Now, normally even if they sell out of kits, you can find the pattern and make your own kit. Not this time. There is no trace of the Dogwood Blossoms sweater – not in green or blue. It’s just gone.

And since I can’t leave it alone and I’ve become obsessed that This is the Sweater that will qualify me for free shipping – there is nothing else I would rather spend my money on, I call the Knit Picks people and question Amber about how I can get my hands on it.

I can’t.

The sweater kit is long gone, but they may bring it back later. I return, disappointed, to my cart where I have dumped the mitten yarn and the bunch of Rainbow Felici. Well, if I can’t also add a Dogwood Blossoms sweater to this mix, it’s starting to look excessive. I just need the mitten yarn. $10 worth of it. It probably only requires a few more dollars for them to ship it to me – let’s face it, 600g of fingering weight wool isn’t going to weigh that much. Why buy $40 more of yarn that, again, let’s face it, I do not need just so I can save a few dollars on shipping?

I left the site without buying anything. Because Christmas is a long way off, you know, and just maybe by the time I really need it, the Dogwood Blossoms sweater kit will be back again. I’ll keep an eye on it. This does mean, of course, that the Rainbow Felici will be long gone, but I already have some of that and I don’t have anything like a Dogwood Blossoms sweater. I’ve got my priorities. Besides, there are other manufacturers that do make rainbow colored self-striping sock yarn. And even though I say that I would only buy from Knit Picks for the rest of my life, I don’t actually have to make good on that assumption.

I will wait. I’ll knit other things. Maybe I’ll drag one of the older sweater kits from the basement and actually work on it to make room for the newest object of my affection. After all, I have thousands of grams of Knit Picks wool to take the sting out of this deprivation. There are other drugs to soothe this withdrawal. And there’s always next month when the newest Knit Picks catalog will show up at my door, full to bursting with new projects that might even make me forget I ever saw that Dogwood Blossoms sweater.

Maybe. No, surely.