Bundle of Joy, Week 1: The Impronte Di Dolce

From today through the end of the year, I am featuring eight of my favorite designs to celebrate 2017. Each week, I’ll be giving a 25% discount for one of these designs – and I’ve even got a special surprise for anyone who purchases by Christmas Eve!

The first pattern of my eight favorite designs is:

Impronte di Dolce
The Impronte di Dolce

Inspired by our Dolce kitty, the Impronte Di Dolce snuggles up to your neck and keeps you warm on those cold winter nights. You don’t even have to worry about showing the wrong side since there is none! This densely textured wrap is completely reversible with its reversible cables, moss stitch, garter stitch and eyelet lace!

Impronte di Dolce

Any DK weight yarn will make a gorgeous Impronte Di Dolce. The original used Juniper Moon Farm’s Herriot (100% baby alpaca) but I’ve just cast on another in Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash which shows off the texture sooooo well.

Impronte di Dolce in Plymouth Worsted Merino Superwash

Suitable for either sex, the Impronte di Dolce (named for the footprints that our kitty leaves in her path) is an easy-to-knit treasure which will keep your loved ones warm during the coming winter.

Impronte di Dolce

Use the code “IDDBOJ1” to get 25% off through 11:59PM on November 9th.

Want to peek at the rest of the patterns included? I thought you might! Click here to go to the Bundle of Joy.

Through December 31st, you can purchase the complete bundle for 25% off using the code “BundleOfJoy17

Let the celebration begin!

Celebrate 2017: A Bundle of Joy

Over the end of this most crazy year, I am celebrating. After Steph’s surprising stroke, each moment feels like a gift – A gift which I feel like passing along to everyone I know!

So, I’ve bundled together eight of my favorite designs:

A Bundle of Joy!

Each week until the end of the year, one of my eight favorite designs will be 25% off!

Bundle_Full_Newsletter

On Fridays, I’ll announce the name of the discounted pattern and you’ll have a week to get the deal.

(For those who don’t want to wait, I’m also putting the patterns together in a bundle for purchase all at once.)

Tomorrow, November 3rd, the fun begins!

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Why I Disappeared for a Week

Me & My Sweetie, 2014On Sunday the 17th, my sweetie had a stroke.

It’s quite a long story with lots of silly side stories, but here’s the nutshell.

Her left side was numb but has regained some feeling – enough that she can move her left limbs with intent. They are still really weak and she also has difficulty processing images on the left side.

She got moved to rehab on Wednesday and they are planning to have her there for 2-3 weeks to get her ready to send home. She’s looking at a full recovery, but it’s going to take some time. For now, she improves a little each day and I celebrate each small victory.

Also, I promise that I’m taking care of myself too!

Now, one silly side story:

On Tuesday, I came home from the hospital. I stopped by Barb’s to pick up Ty, grabbed a comforting box of McNuggets (no judging! I’m in distress), and then drove home in the dark.

When I opened the door of the car, Ty leaped out and dove into the darkness. It’s a usual pattern. She’ll run about and have a good unrestricted poo in the yard before returning to the house. I didn’t worry and headed up the steps.

The cats zipped through my feet as I walked through the doorway, leaving the door wide open to allow Ty to return. Unwilling to venture too far from a potential supper, the kitties hung out on the deck.

My God! Doesn’t she know we’re hungry?!

I began grabbing cans and spoons and dry food to construct all the pets’ dinner. Ty returned to the house and took her space by her food bowl.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Dolce, the tortoiseshell kitty, crouched by the counter and focused on something I couldn’t see. For sure, a mouse. She brought a mouse into the house. That was the last thing I needed.

I leaned in to save the poor thing and suddenly six bajillion legs attached to a sticklike body FLEW up at me! FLEW! The damn thing was at least six inches long and looked similar to a praying mantis.

I began to yell, “BIG BUG! BIG BUG! Get out of my house!” The cats continued to pursue their pray through the kitchen, trapping it between the refrigerator and a cabinet. Thwarted, they returned to the deck.

“BIG BUG! BIG BUG! Get out of my house!” I ran for a kitchen towel.

“BIG BUG! BIG BUG! Get out of my house!” I flung the towel into the space and dragged the bug across the floor (continuously screaming my new mantra), finally flinging it through the door onto the deck in between the kitties.

I closed the door quickly as both cats began to advance upon the wriggling beastie in the towel.

Whew.

Now I just had to get the towel back.

I put together dinner for the cats and the dog. I opened the door to find the towel lying on the deck, the bug still entangled. I carefully picked up the towel and flung the bug off the deck into the darkness.

Ew. Just ew.

My sweetie and I have a deal: I clean up all of the animal effluvium; she ejects the bugs and mice and dead beings from our home. Now I get to manage both.

I’m so hating this new deal.

***

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Here Knitty-Knitty: Calmed to Distraction

Calmed to DistractionBefore I began knitting, I would just wait in line. I’d sit in the car and stare at the dashboard waiting for the teller to hand back my bank bag. I’d pace and pace and pace in the waiting room, snapping at innocent nurses coming to give me news. I would just sit and watch a movie.

I spent a lot of time frustrated because I was made to wait around and do nothing. Do nothing? I had tons of stuff to do: chores, errands, telephone calls. I didn’t have time to wait around. Didn’t they know I’d never get those moments back?

I tried meditation. I attempted to clear my mind as I waited in my car at the bank. The tellers giggled when the bank drawer roared back out to my window and I made a startled squeak.

Fail.

I tried carrying a book everywhere. Deep in the midst of the reveal of the murderer, I annoyed the entire line at the post office when the clerk called and I didn’t move.

Fail.

Finally, realizing that I had another trip to the hospital in my future, I packed a bag full of my latest knitting project before I bundled my partner into the car and headed over. My father’s Christmas sweater accompanied me through the pre-surgery consultation when I sent my one true love into that cold sterile room without me. Stitch after stitch comforted me while I waited for the doctor to give me an update. Row upon row gathered in my lap until her bed was rolled into the room. I sat by her side and knitted patiently each day and was able to maintain a calm attitude throughout, even when the doctor tried my patience.

Epic Win!

I need something to distract me and keep me productive at the same time. I love the way I can create something amazing stitch by stitch. I love having a little project by my side.

Maybe it comes from my early need for my blankie. I called it a “gee-gee.” To my mother’s dismay, I carried my gee-gee everywhere.

Now the sock is my gee-gee. You’ll find me sitting in my car at the bank knitting away on a sock, juggling my double pointed needles and zipping along the rows. Post office lines are harder, but in the winter I can usually slip my little plastic bag filled with yarn and needles into my coat pocket for a quick stitch or two while I’m in line. Friends now understand that movies are measured in knitted inches instead of hours.

You can use any small project for this sort of distraction. People knit hat after hat for the troops. Our local knitting group has been creating fingerless mitts to sell at the Bust of Steamboat. Scarf upon scarf pile up friends and family.

My favorite just happens to be socks. This project uses tiny yarn and tiny needles, meaning it can be stashed anywhere. One lies in the bottom of my large purse/knitting bag. One lives in the glove compartment of my car. Right now, I’m wondering if I left that purple one in the pocket of my winter coat.

Socks go everywhere. I can slip it into the movie theater. I’ve pulled them out during concerts and plays. One accompanied me to the deck at Sweetwater to watch my partner’s ex-wyfe sing outdoors.

Socks never get very big. Even the biggest almost completed sock can still be stuffed into a corner of a bag or slipped into a pocket.

Plus, if the need arises, socks are a great canvas for all sorts of new techniques. You can practice your lacework, throw down with cables, or even start stranding some different colors and take the whole thing up a notch.

Socks are my personal go-to project. If I want to start something new but don’t know what, I’ll wind up a skein of sock yarn and just start stitching. I keep a lovely stash of sock yarn all set for potential projects. (The list grows every day.) At Christmas time, I grab worsted weight yarn and cast on slipper socks for any last minute boyfriends that show up with the nieces.

My socks soothe my soul and clothe my feet. They make great gifts. They start interesting conversations. Socks keep me calm.

I think that’s my partner’s favorite part. Or maybe it’s the handmade goodness snuggling her feet.

***

Originally published in the Valley Voice, October 2012

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Play With the Housewyfe

The New Sacred Cardi

Mid-August, the air began cooling. I looked across the valley on Saturday and saw a grove of trees fading from green to yellow. My bountiful garden withers a little more each day as I pluck the last fruits and veggies from the summer vines.

The clouds that fill the sky today are the outskirts of Irma, but I can’t deny the change I am experiencing.

Our Fading Hillside - 9/12/17

Fall is here.

As soon as the cool air greeted me in the mornings, I grabbed my old sacred red sweater. Stained and fraying and stretched beyond its usefulness, it failed to snuggle me.

With regret, I decided that I needed a new cardigan. Since I’ve been wanting to try out Barbara Walker’s method in Knitting from the Top ever since I obtained it last year, I decided on a top-down raglan sweater. With a sweater’s worth of fingering weight alpaca in a neutral gray-green…

Okay fine, it’s really olive.

No, I ordered the color by mistake.

Yes, it goes with most of my clothes.

Dammit.

I swatched the yarn and cast on this light, plain sweater to replace my old faithful (which I am wearing right now). The red sweater made the move with me. I wore it almost every day last winter and finally started throwing it back on last week.

If I don’t want to spend another winter snuggling in the less-than-snugglable old sweater, I must work on the new cardigan all the time. I have other projects: the soft beaded cowl, a pair of socks for my sweetie (oh, wait until you see those!), an experimental bundle of stitches which may or may not turn into a shawlish cardi for my niece.

No. They are denied! My cardigan must be finished before the weather really turns.

And I’m still only on the yoke.

Sacred Cardi - 9/12/17

My hands feel good though. I think I’m ready for the push!

***

Play With the Housewyfe

Two Color Brioche Knitting in the Round: The Video

This week, I began a Beginning Brioche class using the Channeled Colors Cowl to learn two color brioche knitting in the round.

Doesn’t that sound crazy? Beginning brioche is two color in the round? However, this technique is the simplest way to learn brioche knitting.

Each round is knitted using only one color. One color is always purled and the other is always knitted. This means you get to focus on only one thing at a time. Pretty cool, right?

Plus, at the end, two-color brioche performs this alchemy where, even though you’ve knitted all your rows horizontally, vertical bands of color appear.

I’m telling you – it’s magic!

Two Color Brioche Knitting in the Round

Of course, the project takes a little longer than you think it will because two rounds of knitting equals only one round of height. That’s one of the drawbacks of two-color brioche knitting!

But it looks so cool!

I’ve made a couple of quick videos to show the different steps of the different stitches for my students. First, a knitted round:

And now, the purl!

I recorded these outside on my deck since my desk was most inhospitable to the camera yesterday. There’s a bit of noise from our neighborhood wilderness (the dog across the gulch, the rooster down the hill), but I think you’ll get the drift. I include demonstrations of both the left handed (continental) and right handed (english) process as well.

Enjoy these little tutorials, and have fun with two color brioche!

***

Play With the Housewyfe

Diary of a Lesbian Housewyfe: The Condiment Gang

The Condiment GangA couple of months after moving into our house, Stephanie and I bought a refrigerator.

Stainless steel double doors with handy water and ice dispensers promised an organized display of beverages, vegetables, fruits and meats, all within my grasp. The wide shelves, the deep drawers, and the little box for eggs all promised a virtuous life filled with perfectly portioned meals and leftovers only at Thanksgiving. I even believed that I could fit a big fat turkey on the center shelf for those big banquets at the holidays.

As I stood in the middle of Sears, staring into the depths of our soon-to-be refrigerator, I forgot about the condiments.

Our refrigerator is empty only twice during our life in a house: once when we move in and again when we move out. In accordance with Lesbian Law #85: Waste not, lest you be judged, we always transfer all of our food to our new house and that includes the giant laundry basket of condiments. I try to tell myself that this is due to the influence of my mother-in-law, the “condiment woman.” We have a friend who used to go over to her house when he was a teenager, open the door of the fridge and see empty shelves and a door full of condiments. I suspect he drank the ketchup, although he didn’t elaborate. I do know he tried to get high on catnip once, so I wouldn’t put anything past him.

Currently, out of the forty-nine items residing in my refrigerator door, six items moved to our latest home with us back in June of 2002. These are:

  • Thai Green Basil Curry Paste
  • Thai Red Curry Paste
  • Whole Grain Mustard (one of four different bottles of mustard)
  • Liquid Smoke
  • Tabasco ™
  • Worcestershire Sauce

The liquid smoke, Tabasco™ and Worcestershire sauce actually all moved from my sister-in-law’s refrigerator when she moved to Atlanta back in the spring of 1999. Yes, I have three condiments in my refrigerator that date from the last century. I can’t help it! (See Lesbian Law #85, above.)

I’m proud to state that fourteen of the forty-nine jars and bottles were purchased within the last three months. Unfortunately, I also have to admit that two are different brands of dijon mustard and I believe the harissa paste could easily join the above ranks in a few years. How often can you use harissa paste? Ground chiles in oil with a moroccan flair went very well with my Easter lamb, but I don’t know what else to do. Oh wait…. I’m sure that the six recipe magazines that land in my mailbox each month will have some suggestions.

After all, it was one of their “bright idea” recipes that got me into this.

This is how I came to own twenty-nine – count ‘em – twenty-nine condiments that we bought between the summer of 2004 and the spring of 2006. Condiments that have come in and made a home in my refrigerator door. They all have a story behind them. I become entranced with some new recipe and end up with most of a jar of mango chutney because, “that’s nasty.”

At least the review was concise.

Steph wants me to reiterate that it wasn’t the condiment’s fault; the recipe was the thing that went horribly awry.

Several years ago, Stephanie began drinking martinis regularly so an assortment of olives (pimento-stuffed, almond-stuffed, sicilian spiced, greek black) and three jars of pickled tomatoes (all with different levels of tomatoes) joined the gang. She switched over to club soda with lime juice last summer, so the leftover olives and tomatoes now languish in my refrigerator door.

Summer here in the Yampa Valley brings the opening of our farmer’s markets. Sweet Pea, the perennial favorite, along with two weekend-only temporary setups, bring local and organic produce into our shopping radar. In the depths of summer, I trundle under the green corrugated plastic roof and dip into boxes of red tomatoes that smell like summer gardens in full bloom, ripe soft peaches that smell like golden cobbler doled out lavishly by my grandmother, and red potatoes that smell like…well, potatoes, but they taste like butter. The plethora of fresh scents and sweet tastes dazzle my winter-starved senses and I end up with not only way too many fresh veggies and fruits, but also dipping sauces and salad dressings.

I blame those on the heat.

The Liquid Smoke Gang (named after its oldest member) confronts me whenever I open the refrigerator, jeering and taunting. Their favorite chant is “You can’t toss me! You might need me!” Then they scurry back to their places and giggle.

What they don’t know is that every condiment can go bad (except maybe liquid smoke) or be used up (except maybe liquid smoke). I’m arming myself to do battle with my refrigerator door condiment gang!

While I do thoroughly peruse the refrigerator about once a month and toss the old leftovers and desiccated vegetables, I rarely touch the condiments in the door. All of that is changing this summer. This summer, I’m ruthlessly organizing my refrigerator – including the door!

First, I protect myself with rubber gloves. The next thing to go is my conscience which screams Lesbian Law #2: Reduce, reuse, recycle. This is not going to happen since I refuse to open some of those jars, much less touch them with my bare hands. I pull the trash can over to the refrigerator and open the door.

The mango chutney is the first to go. I know I’ll never make that recipe again. Next, I check out the jams, jellies and syrups. One of those suckers has something fuzzy on the top. The weird tapenade that no one ever liked – out of here! Ruthless desperation invades my body and I barely look before I drop each condiment into the trash.

After the carnage, I make a list of my most used condiments and make sure they are positioned correctly. Ketchup, barbeque sauce, mayonnaise, dijon mustard, butter, yeast (I know those last two aren’t really condiments, but they are in the refrigerator door along with three bottles of wine and a container of ginger syrup), soy sauce, the four almost empty bottles of salad dressing that need to be consumed, Worcestershire sauce (it’s a huge bottle), Tabasco™ (I only use 1/8-1/4 teaspoon per recipe), and finally anchovy paste (1 teaspoon whenever I make chicken Provençal). These aren’t the only condiments in the door, but they are the most prominent and my refrigerator door now has space for another couple bottles of wine.

Just in time for summer!

Those condiments have learned their lesson! Lesbian Law #1: Never underestimate the power of a Lesbian Housewyfe.

Except, maybe, the liquid smoke.

***

 I’m not quite sure when the liquid smoke left our refrigerator. Frankly, we could have left it when we moved from Steamboat last October. About half of my current selection of condiments (accrued since we moved into the house in February) appears above. As I study the picture more closely, I realized that at least three of those bottles and jars made the move with us. *sigh*

This is the final vintage installment of the Diary of the Lesbian Housewyfe. Thanks for joining me on this little walk down memory lane over the summer.

***

Play With the Housewyfe

Not A Hat

So, the hat to match the beaded fingerless mitts went completely awry. I’ve been in denial for days. I always tell my students, “If you don’t like it now, you won’t like it ten rows from now.”

I knew I didn’t like what was happening when I was halfway through the brim, but I persevered. Silly-silly!!

Not-A-Hat Cowl on the needles

See how the brim fans out instead of pulling in? That is a hat which will not stay on anyone’s head.

It’s a “not-a-hat.”

I put on my big girl panties, pulled the work off the needles and measured.

Not A Hat Cowl Off the Needles

A twenty and a half inch diameter on the brim.

I tried it on, and the piece fell perfectly to my neckline.

Not-A-Hat Cowl Around my Neck

Yep. This “not-a-hat” is going to become a cowl. The deciding factor was when I felt that LUSCIOUS yarn against my neck. Besides my reluctance to rip out the beads (they go flying no matter how careful I am!), feeling the soft blend of merino, yak and silk against my skin made me realize this yarn needed to be a cowl. A bit of everyday luxury will make me feel pretty on the gloomiest of winter days.

Since I won’t be changing the diameter, the cowl will ride close to my skin, covering my neck to my chin. The next section of this pattern will continue the lace pattern, but reduce the number of beads (so their weight won’t pull the cowl into a puddle lying on my collarbone).

Unless I decide I don’t like it again. In which case I’ll take my own advice a bit earlier.

***

Play With the Housewyfe

No Knitting Police!

Passionate people love to share their passion. That’s why you get to sit and listen to your nephew chatter about trains and your best friend tell you about the fabulous book she just read. That’s why that huge convention center fills multiple times each year with people excited about comic books or Star Trek or knitting.

And that’s why, in those huge convention centers, you’ll find classrooms full of people sharing their passion with others.

How to Get Away With(out) Murder: Teaching Friends & Family How to Knit

I’m one of those sharers. I love to teach people about knitting. I read the history of knitting and discuss knitting techniques with friends. My passions lie more in the knitting technique side of the work: picking the right cast-on for a project, poring over stitch dictionaries, figuring out Elizabeth Zimmerman’s percentage system for my next sweater. My bookshelves are filled with knitting texts such as Maggie Righetti’s Sweater Design in Plain English and Knitting from the Top by Barbara G. Walker, along with Elizabeth Zimmerman’s invaluable text, Knitting Without Tears.

If you snuggle up to me during knitting group, I’ll help you past a tough spot. Present me with a tangled ball of wool and you have my attention. Pull out your latest knitting triumph and I will study it, oohing and aahing about the color you chose and the different knitting technique you conquered.

When I began teaching, I started with Learn to Knit classes. With each new class, I asked why the students wanted to learn to knit. During that time, students opened up and, every other class, I’d hear a new horror story of Knitting Lessons Gone Wrong.

“My grandmother would give me the needles and then snatch them back to fix the mistakes. I couldn’t learn because I barely got the chance to knit at all.”

“I went to a yarn shop and their instructor told me I was holding the needles wrong. I never could hold them HER way and figured I was just useless at knitting.”

“My friend tried to teach me, but I couldn’t see what she was doing. I sure hope you can help.”

As I listened to the stories, my heart ached for my students and for the caring, passionate women and men who attempted to teach them but couldn’t share their knowledge effectively. Who knows how many people in the same sorts of situations never even tried to knit again?!

As we worked our way through that initial class, I was lucky enough to see the light appear in many of their eyes. They could KNIT. They really could. However they held their needles or whichever hand they used to hold their yarn or whatever mistakes they managed to make, by the end of that first session, they had stitches on their needles and knew they could continue knitting.

By allowing the student to find his or her own way into the knitting process, the joy of knitting began to seep into their bones. The realization that the only right way to knit is the way which ends up with stitches on needles helped each student move forward with confidence in his or her abilities.

Hearing those stories and watching my students overcome their obstacles inspired me to share my techniques for teaching people how to knit. Whether adults or children, if you can knit, you can teach someone else how to knit. By sharing my experiences and techniques, I hope to inspire you to share your passion with others in a flexible and generous manner.

After all, there are no knitting police – not even self-appointed ones.

Remember, give a person a sweater and she’ll wear it at least once (hopefully not to her annual “Ugly Christmas Sweater” party). Teach her how to knit and she’ll be amazed at the difficulty of making one of those truly amazing sculptural sweaters with lights that actually light up before she wears it to her annual “Ugly Christmas Sweater” party.

She may even make her own.

***

Play With the Housewyfe

Diary of a Lesbian Housewyfe: String Theory

Crocheted WrapOn a dark and stormy afternoon, I closed my eyes, braced myself and sprinted from my car across the parking lot to the post office. My mission: retrieve the mail. (Neither rain nor snow nor hail nor sleet nor…. Where’s a postman when you need one?) My shirt stuck to me by the time I reached the doorway and water filled the bottom of one of my shoes from an inadvertent splash into a deep puddle.

Opening a post office mailbox might be one of the most exciting things ever. You never know what could tumble out: a message from your mother, a bill, the latest Crochet magazine. Good news or bad, you’ve played your own little lottery and didn’t lose a dollar in the process!

Today, a bomb was in my mailbox. A ticking time bomb slenderly reposing in a thick cream-colored envelope with a deckled edge and my name and address written in calligraphy.

I carefully pulled the wedding invitation from the box and studied the return address. My friend, Miss Petite Blondie Blue-Eyes, was getting married.

Each wedding invitation arrives and sets off a series of decisions and events culminating with the choice of the wedding gift. You don’t want to spend too much (lest you are out more dollars than you can afford) or too little (lest they think you are a cheapskate).

You want to get them something they want or something they need. Sometimes they enclose information about a bridal registry at a local or online shop. Without that information, you can take a cue from the wedding and reception location. If you are attending a potluck at the park, you can spend way less money on the gift than if you are having dinner at the chichi country club.

One way or the other, the gift must be perfect. You don’t want to be the one who gave “that gift.” You know, the gift that sits on the top shelf in their garage or that they “accidentally” broke in their last move. Heaven forbid, you gave the gift that became the “white elephant” joke and circulated among their friends for years before coming back to you with a funny card.

My solution has been a crocheted afghan. With the amount of time spent along with an appropriate yarn choice, the afghan truly suits any wedding from the local park to the swanky downtown hotel. Handmade by me, I give the gift of my time and their snuggling. Now, however, I had to focus on the nuptials at hand. I pulled out the invitation that evening and stared, getting an idea of how this person viewed her wedding and how that meshes with my view of her. A cream-colored thick envelope with a deckled edge and calligraphy means this person wants their wedding elegant and traditional, but opening the envelope revealed an independent soul who custom designed an eclectic invitation with a feather lovingly tucked into the fold. Since I know my friend is more eclectic than traditional, I realized I need something elegant yet fun.

My “Wedding Ring” afghan consists of only two design guidelines: filet crochet and two interlocking rings in the middle. I’m basically lazy, so the filet crochet allows me to work the afghan up quickly while symbology of the interlocking rings is self-evident. Other than that, I can allow my imagination to run free and insert anything that screams love, love, love into that pattern.

My perfect wedding ring afghan is five feet by eight feet to fit a queen sized bed or easily cover two people nestling on the couch. This rarely happens due to the fact that I always underestimate the amount of yarn necessary and because I have an alarming attachment to symmetry. If the afghan will be more symmetric in a smaller size, that’s what you’re stuck with.

Next, I choose the yarn. Fiber choice can make or break a snuggling experience. Now, if the couple is young, still moving from house to house or with a small child, my choice is consistently one hundred percent acrylic. Safe to wash and dry for the baby’s barf and resilient enough to survive inevitable drops during moving, acrylic yarn creates a basically indestructible afghan that can live on the top of the couch for a long, long time. Luckily, the new fiber technologies mean that more and more acrylic colors, shapes and feels are available. My current favorite wedding yarn is hefty chenille in white, cream or champagne.

Though, if I know the couple well, I may pick a brilliant red or wine color. Ah, the romance!

If the couple is older, on their second marriage or seemingly past the need for children, I find myself searching for more exotic fibers. Cotton, mohair and silk call to me from the shelves of my local yarn shop. Still, I migrate to the soft, plushy fibers which call out for cuddling.

Miss Petite Blondie Blue-Eyes calls for bulky champagne chenille with a frame of eyelash yarn in the same color so she’ll have a sophisticated plumpy afghan with a fuzzy border to tickle her nose.

Finally, I fulfill my mission. Luckily, I like to have something to do while I watch television and, luckily, I watch a lot of television. I try to schedule my afghans in the winter and around sporting events like tennis tournaments or the Olympics. However, if that scheduling fails, I simply station myself on the sofa with my bag of yarn, crochet hook, and a good mystery movie.

Nothing can stop the obsession to finish once I’ve truly gotten started on an afghan with a deadline. I crochet late into the evening and wake up and crochet in bed. I crochet while hanging the afghan off the sofa because the weather is so hot I can’t bear to have it cover my legs. I huddle under a just-finished afghan while starting a new one on one of our wintry Rocky Mountain below-zero evenings.

Once, I was so late finishing the afghan that I crocheted in the car, finally finishing the thing in the hotel the night before the wedding. We stopped at a hobby shop on our way to the ceremony and became “Gangsta Wrappers,” quickly purchasing cloth and ribbon to fashion a giant bag. There’s nothing like the thrill of the gift as you fight the wind whipping through the car (who knew that it would be hard to fit a five by eight foot afghan into a three by six foot piece of cloth?) while your sweet honey-bunny runs back into the store to buy a pen to sign the card.

Whoops! We’re usually so prepared!

Luckily, Miss Petite Blondie Blue-Eyes’ afghan worked up quickly and turned into a five-by-five masterpiece of interlocking rings and hearts. I lovingly wrapped it (in my own house, even!) before inserting it with a lovely card into a box and returning to the post office on a beautiful sunny blue day to send it off to its new home.

Despite the trials and tribulations and long stretches of boring filet, I attempt to create every stitch with the love I have for my friend. She knows Lesbian Law #1: Never underestimate the power of a Lesbian Housewyfe.

Now I have nine months to finish the baby afghan.

***

Since writing this piece, I’ve expanded from crocheted afghans to a multitude of knitted objects. Luckily, the number of people in my life getting married has since slowed from a gush to a trickle. I still recommend handmade gifts for weddings. From our wedding, the quilt top is cherished as much as the beautiful knives from our registry, and both still get daily use. Plus, the truth of an afghan is that, even if the receiver hates it, she will put it in her blanket closet and pull it out for the occasional guest to snuggle underneath.

***

Play With the Housewyfe