Tuesday, May 11, 2010

it all started with number 19

Whuu! Whuu! Whu-whu-whu! That's me blowing the dust off this blog.

I have been having way too much fun for an unemployed person. I'm about to bring it to an end -- the unemployment, not the fun -- but while I've still got plenty of leisure time, I'm giving all my love to making things. Making things, and hanging around with other people who make things. Also, there's been the securing of new materials with which to make things, but that's the joy and the hazard of a part-time job at a yarn shop.

What I've had more time and opportunity to appreciate about Houston is that it lives up to its reputation as a friendly city. People take you in like a long-lost friend, and it's easy to forget you've been around for a relatively short period of time. This morning my neighbor took me to Pilates class. Afterward, at Starbucks, I was telling her how much I like Houston, and how, being from up north and having lived on both coasts, I'm often surprised by how fundamentally kind people are. I know lovely people and have beautiful friends everywhere I've been, but down here there's a concentration, and you don't have to develop an intimate relationship with a person to get the goods. "Endure the weather and love the people," my neighbor said. That pretty much sums it up (except the weather's been great this year too). It's better than the other way around.

I'm about to celebrate my second birthday in this fair city. One of my knitting friends has the same birthday (and the same middle name) as I do, May 16, and so there will be cake and merriment at the shop. I love my birthday. (I love anybody's birthday.) Whether I've been good or bad, I always get myself a gift. Two years ago my gift to myself was an iPod. This year I'm not rolling like that; something more humble, pricewise, was in order. I finagled Schmin and Mister Stevens into the Knitpicks Harmony set, which I hadn't even wanted until people at the shop kept moaning in ecstasy while using them. (Even the owner has a set. They were her first needles, and she uses them exclusively.) I need a food processor, but haven't done the homework to find the right one yet. Nothing else is on my list, but that's the fun of birthdays, isn't it? People give you things that are surprising and wonderful and you grow to treasure them, and it's also good to surprise yourself. It's the main occasion when I'll see something and not question whether I ought to have it. I give myself permission.

This year's gift all started with number 19. I bought my niece a used Kenmore sewing machine for her 11th birthday, which was last week, and I was tooling around the thrift store to find something suitable for her to keep its accessories in. I found something, then wandered over to the book section. I was there for a while, checking out this and that, when I came across a slender book titled Stitch by Stitch: A Home Library of Sewing, Knitting, Crochet, and Needlecraft. Like, hunh? Did this not have my name all over it? I do every single thing in the freakin' title.

Even though it said Home Library, it didn't dawn on me until I paid my dollar for the book and got it home that there were -- gasp -- others in the series. (Remember the last time this happened to me with a little collection of '70s craft books?) I was in possession of number 19, and whether there were 18 or 75 more, I would have the rest. Google revealed that Stitch by Stitch comes as a set of 20, and, as is typical with these old collections, people mostly sell them one by one. Determined as I was, I wouldn't pay 5 - 15 dollars each. Luckily, there was a complete set on good old eBay. The seller said it was in excellent condition. Lo, it came with its Master Index and bonus Stitch a Gift booklet. It also came with, be still my heart, a pile of paper patterns that were released with it. It was selling for 22.49 + 14. for shipping, which was very reasonable.

Although the seller sent them via Media Mail, they arrived quickly, and overall they're mint. I doubt the patterns were ever unfolded. I've been crocheting like hooks are about to disappear, so I'm particularly excited about the crochet lessons featured in each volume. I read a review (maybe on Amazon) that said there are hard-to-find techniques included.

I'm hoping Natalie will want to sew these evil twin outfits with me.

Another happy birthday rolls around. I feel blessed and fortunate. And, as ever, crafty.


Ellen Bloom said...

I'm so glad that you've come to love living in Houston, Carla. I'm also glad that you've embraced MY favorite craft of CROCHET!

Happy B-Day, my Sweet! Expect the unexpected in the mail soon!

Stacy said...

Happy early birthday!!! Gifts to yourself are good.... I bought myself a new fragrance for mine, needed since my old one had bad juju.

Stacy said...

P.S. GOOD to see you back around...

Nik said...

You always find the best treasures.

Happy "Be-Early" Birthday ;D

woolanthropy said...

Oh...I gotta get me to Tejas soon to check out those books! Evil twin outfits here we come...while wearing them we could infiltrate some Mormon sect, learn a few old timey skills, and then convert a few women to a life of sin and good times!

j.kaori said...

Congrats on the find --- looks like an amazing library. I can't wait to see what you crochet/sew/knit! And a perfect b-day gift for you --- hope you have a wonderful birthday!