Noelle was not a knitter. On one of her visits to Vermont during her pregnancy, I thought it would be a good idea to teach her to knit. It was on a busy Saturday in the wintertime, and I had her spend a couple of hours upstairs in the classroom with Barb. Barb taught her all of the basics. After the class, she bought some Plush in 6 or 7 different colors. She loved the blankie so much that she wanted to make another smaller one. Obviously Plush is not your basic beginner's yarn. I tried to get her to start with something like Cascade 220, or even Manos. But she wanted Plush. Each time she sat down to knit, she became frustrated with how slippery it was. And so that blankie never really materialized. Noelle, who WAS not a knitter then, IS not a knitter now.Enter Ainsley, on May 25, 2003. The patchwork blanket we made her became her all time favorite. She took it everywhere, and so it needed a lot of washing. They followed my instructions – they washed it in a cold wash on gentle. I told them to air dry it, and only if needed, to put it in the dryer on air dry for several minutes. Somewhere along the line, as parents of toddlers often do, they became a little more lax with the washing instructions. The soft and cuddly blankie became a stiff and crunchy blankie. Did it meet up with some bad fabric softener? Did it get fried in the dryer? We’ll never know, but Ainsley still loves the blankie as she did when it was in its prime.
Last summer at our camp in Maine, I joked with Noelle. I asked her how the Plush blankie was coming along. In a moment of weakness I offered to finish (well, start... and finish!) it for her. I felt awful for Ainsley - she was lovingly carting around a fried piece of nylon. I asked Noelle to send me the Plush, and I told her I'd knit the blankie for her. After all, it was summer, and I generally have a bit more free time in the summer.
My slow time came and went. Noelle didn't send me the Plush until November. At that point, I was way too busy to knit the blankie. Her bag of Plush would resurface every month or so, as I was reorganizing my knitting projects. My knitting "corner" in the family room tends to grow and grow, and when it gets out of control I have to do a major reorganization. Each time I would find it, I'd feel guilty, and think... "Maybe I can get this done..." but, you know, it never happened.
Last week, just four days before her birthday, I pulled out the bag of Plush. Kim, one of our sample knitters, had just finished a project. I asked her if she would whip up this blankie for me. Instead of doing patchwork, we did basic stripes. She cast on 105 stitches, and worked in stockinette until the end of the skein. She worked through 7 balls, and brought it in today. It is adorable, and yes, SOFT. I am sure Ainsley will love it, though she is used to the crunchy one now, so you never know.
I sent it to her in Maine and she will receive it tomorrow. She already received one birthday present, and though this one is a week late, I think it will be worth the wait. I included a note with all of the care instructions again. Hopefully this blankie meets with better fate than the other one.