Someday (may be the last thing I ever do), I'm going to finish a project before the final possible second. The Red Faery is not that project. It's Friday, and I'm headed to the island for a desperately needed vacation with my family. There's a birthday party for my mom on Sunday, and I'm going to be knitting in the car, on the ferry, and probably in the dark of night, too, in order to give her a present that actually is finished. The irony is, of course, that I'm killing myself to finish this sweater in time for her birthday IN AUGUST, when it's much too hot for her to wear it. But that's not what this is about, for me.
A while back I "turned pro" as a knitter. That is to say, I started writing about the knitting I do, and the people I know who also do it. I made a book about it, and people started to call me things like "Designer" and "Author". My professional status was more a result of not stopping them from doing that than it was actually having achieved some benchmark. In lots of avocations, there are certificates, or even licenses you can earn, stick in frames, and hang on your wall. Knitting doesn't have that kind of tangible proof, outside the actual sweaters and socks. I'm totally okay with that, not being the sort of person who's much impressed by framed certifications. I just roll with it, and hope that nobody asks me a question I can't find an answer to. So far my strategy is working. I can tell this, because I have noticed that I will probably never be able to just knit something for the heck of it again. My knitting time has become totally devoted to people outside my immediate circle of friends and family. I knit for yarnmakers. I knit for book publishers. I knit for other knitters whom I may never even meet. And it is wonderful. What better validation and affirmation could I ask for? There are just these little times when I wish I could make my mom a birthday sweater without an unusual planetary alignment, or an act of Congress. I'd like it if I could make that little doll sweater for Lindsay before she outgrows dolls. Campbell should have two mittens, not one. And don't even ask me what the last thing I made for Phillip was. Can't remember.
So getting this project done for my mom is not just a triumph of will over day job. It's proof to me that I can still make room in my priority queue for the people I love. And that's why a box of disembodied sweater parts for mom's birthday simply would not do. Here are the sleeves, by the way: