Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Birthday Suit

birthday suit3

By the second day at sea, Sue and I had our morning routine down: wake up between 5:30 and 6:00, stare out the window for a while at the sea going by, call for a room service pot of tea, and start knitting and laughing. Eventually, Nancy (next door) would hear us, and bring her knitting in, and order up a pot of coffee. Adriana would sleep in, or take her shower and get dressed, and then join us, and we'd knit and sip and laugh until we had to (!) get dressed and ready for breakfast.

So I had no inkling of conspiracy when all began as usual on Saturday. It was my birthday. I told my friends, of course, but not the travel agent or the cruise lines, because who really needs to have a shipload of strangers sing happy birthday, and wave balloons, and generally celebrate a personal event?

Anyway, Nancy came in to knit, with Adriana, and we ordered coffee. Nancy had a bag with her. She had been plotting, and had many people involved.

First, she had been secretly making this silk jacket for me (above), for several weeks. It is machine knitted and dyed, then reknitted, loosely based on a Sewing Workshop pattern: the Plaza Jacket. Nancy left off the small sleeves, and added some trim between the pieces, and hems and facings of knitted fabric. Here's the back:

birthday suit

As you can guess, the photos were taken here at home, having no good pictures of it at sea. Well, we do have the picture of me unwrapping and wearing it in bed, but, sheesh, I'd need lots of incentive to post that here!

The funny part? Nancy gave me her notes on how she made the jacket:

nancy's notes (2)

Now if you think you need to make a jacket just like mine, these notes contain dye formulas and samples, dimensions and knitting instructions, all on one page, sorta, kinda organized in no particular order. Just to be helpful: some of the notes say things like "e wrap on, add black band after", and "568 rows, trim 20 rows #3, sleeve opening 75 sts, facing 20 rows" and the like. All somewhat Greek-ish to the uninitiated (me). But (and you knew there would be a *but*) there is hope: You can learn all about what she does because Nancy has an article just published in the Fall SpinOff on her knit-dye-reknit techniques. She's even on the cover (well, her felted bag is, that is), yay!

A better picture of my birthday jacket is up on Nancy's redesigned new website. Noodle around a bit, there are things to see, classes, and shopping opportunities. You'll also find out she and Deb will have a vendor booth at SOAR this year at Tahoe.

Nancy also had enlisted friends to send cards, some included gifts:

birthday haul

People, people, people, how did you keep this a surprise? I've talked to many of you in the weeks leading up to the cruise, and not a peep from any of you. You are all good, and it was great fun to open all of the cards and gifts, thank you!

Nancy, Sue and Adriana made my birthday fun and very special. Thanks to all of you who sent cards, and gifts: you have to know I cried. The rest of the day was spent in knitting classes, and some spinning time in the fresh sea air. The Joans had planned a cocktail party that evening for the knitters, and they all wished me a Happy Birthday in song, so I was well and truly feted.

Only one question remains: how did Nancy know I would like the jacket's colors? :-)


Blogger Spindlers2 said...

I got a sneak preview of the jacket and have been green (oops, wrong colour....) with envy ever since. So glad you had a good birthday, I can imagine the scene!

3:24 AM  
Blogger Deanna said...

Happy Birthday, Sara! What a marvelous way to spend your existence anniversary - and what a lovely gift! I bet it feels like a hug every time you put it on. :-)

7:17 AM  
Blogger June said...

What a beautiful birthday present!!! You must be a pretty nice lady to get such a wonderful surprise. :D

Happy birthday! Hope you have a great year!

10:47 AM  
Blogger Birdsong said...

What a beautiful jacket and in just the perfect Sara colors:) Happy Birthday! Are you back home? I will have to consult about knitting verses, advanced projects, etc. soon.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

I can't think of a better way to celebrate any birthday. Fiber friends are the best! Happy Birthday~

9:46 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Wow! What a wonderful birthday gift! I think your cup has runneth over and all that. You are lucky to have such fabulous fiber friends. Happy birthday!

7:26 AM  
Blogger Marie said...

A belated Happy Birthday to you, Sara! What wonderful friends you have and quite a suprise for you while sailing the ocean's blue. You look mah-velous in Nancy's creation.

7:45 AM  
Blogger Monique Marie Sauniere said...

Absolutely gorgeous! Happy belated birthday to you.

Why is it that none of my close friends knit???

8:20 AM  
Blogger Charleen said...

You sure have great friends! How cool to have a sweater designed just for you, modeled after one of your own creations, and in *Sara* colors no less!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Angi said...

You look really pretty in the jacket. What wonderful friends you have! Belated Happy Birthday.

9:26 PM  
Blogger kimd said...

Happy birthday Sara! Looks like they did you up in style! It looks wonderful on you. Sorry I won't be able to see it in person at SOAR.

9:15 AM  
Blogger soxchik said...

Oh Sara, I love the jacket. I took Nancy's dye class and got a sneek preview. You have great friends.

3:55 PM  
Blogger goodman said...

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10:04 AM  

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