The Birthday Suit
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:
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:
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:
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? :-)