Wildlife Observation

A Guest Post by Mary's Husband, Phillip

For the past few days my children and I have borne witness to a disturbing phenomenon:

What happens to a knitter when she doesn't have the yarn she requires.

Some specific symptoms materialize.

The realization that her hands aren't being used causes (in this order):     

Stage 1: Flailing.  First, an inability to sit still while watching television or having 'polite' conversations. This quickly manifests itself as

Stage 2: Manic Project Identification and Completion (a.k.a. "Search and Destroy").  The rest of the family stands by in a relatively idle state as the flailing moves from the hands into the entire body.  The yarn-deprived subject becomes a whirling dervish, attempting to accomplish everything she has ever thought needs doing around the house.  It seems to be some attempt to fill the string void.

This phase is accompanied by unfortunate side effects, as the afflicted cannot understand why the rest of the family is neither

  • A. Panicking (this is truly a nightmare)
  • B. Assisting in the tasks with appropriate speed, determination, and angst 

Stage 3: Resignation

The energy is spent, and there is still no yarn to knit with.  The patient unhappily succumbs to this fact.  The family can help by removing the subject from the house in attempts to "Take Her Mind Off The Problem" or "Have Fun".  This does provide brief relief (our subject seemed to sincerely enjoy Guardians of the Galaxy),  but in the end it's a temporary victory.  We can't stay away from the house forever, and when we return, There. Is. Still. No. Yarn.

The knitter finds some solace in yarn books and catalogs. The internet helps, unless something reminds her about the dearth of string.  Every once in a while, a wistful sigh escapes from the subject.  We helpless bystanders realize that the only thing any of us can do is wait.

Wish us Luck.

All Nighter

*Guest post from the husband.  BTW, she reminded me to make sure I used the spell check before I published, and as a lifelong totally awesome speller I was a tad bit 'offended'. So, I am not using ye olde spellcheck, if you readers notice any typos, please do me  a favor and let's keep it between ourselves shall we? Thanks.

Remember college? The project/paper/assignment that your grade was based on? The final evening that kept going and going. Downing cups of coffee/soda/beer (in no particular order), your favorite alt.rock band playing in the background, and a frantic adrenaline and stimulant-fueled race to an impending deadline.  This, knitterers, has been the state of my beloved wife for the past ten days.  She apologizes for her time away from the blog, she will return Monday, and I'm writing this in her place to give you something meager to digest until she returns. 

Creating the final swatches for her book was a more brutal task thatn she had planned for and it took its toll. The work below is what has consumed the household for the past two weeks.  Her efforts culminated in an honest-to-God-all-nighter Thursday night. Over the pat few weeks our house became a horror show of loose fiber, coffee cups, wine glasses, and general disorder (which we know how much OCDers LOVE disorder). We knew it was coming, but neither of us was prepared for the actual 'event'.

Lindsay and I arrived home from skating practice around nine o' clock Thursday evening to find our heroine staring intensely at the laptop with a look of white-hot hatred.

"This isn't going to be good." I muttered to Lindsay; she nodded and smartly retired to her room after giving Mary a quick kiss.

"What's wrong?  I meekly asked.
I'm not going into the response.  It isn't suitable for a blog of this stature, but my wife was trying to download some podcasts off of itunes. As a life-long PC lover, she still isn't hip to how Apple works, and I received a tirade focusing on color scheme, user-friendliness, and why-do-we-have-ESPN-podcasts here (Guilty: fnatasy football teams are not simply created...they have to be dilligently maintained).

I calmed her down, loaded John Hodgman, Fresh Air, and some Wait Wait Don't Tell Mes, got her situated in the reading/knitting nook, and took my leave to bed (I have over 190 tenth graders wating for me every day, so I need my beauty sleep).

I felt the familiar re-adjusting of the pillows (apparently I sleep 'wrong') far later that night. In fact, the AM alarm went off a few minutes later.
"An all-nighter?" I asked.
"Set the alarm for nine, and make sure the kids go to school." she sighed.
Done and done.
When I called that afternoon, she had finished. When I arrived home, the kids were packing the box while she took reference pictures of the swatches, and I was immediately sent to the local FedEx office.

We had some quick dinner, and she was off to bed. Hopefuly she'll be awake by Monday.  Like all all-nighters, her relief was palpable and immediate.  So, that was great, and she feels the project is finished. 

When do I tell her the first re-writes arrived by e-mail today...?

Below are a few images of the state of our house for the past few days. Enjoy.

The Husband Speaks

Gentle Readers, please forgive this brief intrusion into the blogosphere.  My lovely wife is buried under a pile of yarn, sketches, mechanical pencils, and patterns, so she asked me, the husband and accidental fleece-loser (if I haven’t yet, let me apologize to you all for that incident: I really am sorry) to guest blog. So here goes, and she will helm the next post, I promise.

This might surprise some of The Mrs. Beloved readers but…she wasn’t always a knitter.  Oh she was always busy, creative, and obsessive, so the characteristics for knittitude were all there, but she hadn’t found yarn yet.  When I met her she built costumes and wedding gowns to work her way through school.  That developed into her making really cool clothing for us when we first started dating (I remember a purple silk shirt she made for me to wear for a friend’s wedding. It was rock star chic, and if I could fit into it today I’d wear it again in a heartbeat).  She gravitated to quilting, and would go back and forth between that and kidswear when our children were born.

Then in 2003, we traveled to the bay area to visit some friends and take in a Peter Gabriel concert.  During our trip, our friend Jen took Mary into a yarn shop because she had recently taken up knitting. Mary had dabbled before, and she jumped back in with her trademark enthusiasm (a polite way to say obsessiveness).  Well…the rest is history: no more quilts, costumes, and our cool Mary-exclusive threads have become far more ‘exclusive’ (though she did make me three kick-ass vests last Christmas).  She hasn’t stopped knitting since.

As I look back on our life together, I divide it into two periods; Before Yarn (B.Y.) and After Fiber (A.F.).  I realize that not only has my wife undergone a transformation in the AF era, but I have too.  Living with a dedicated knitter changes the daily interactions of husband/wife/family in ways we don’t even think about.  Bill Engvall tells a story where his wife simply says “I’m cold” and he realizes he’s gotten out of bed and is getting a blanket…he’s been ‘trained’ without even realizing it (his rendition is funnier).  This is just like me with the knitter. I have been trained to live the AF world.

For Instance:

When I’m giving a time estimate (dinner is ready/we have to leave in…) I no longer use times, but rows.  During our BY life I would say “Dinner is ready in five minutes”, unconsciously I have switched to “Dinner is ready when you’re at the end of your row.”

I am more careful picking out the movies we watch whilst Mrs. Huff is immersed in yarn (which is always).  Mary mainly gives me ‘control’ over what’s on; it keeps us happier (mostly) and I’ve got pretty good taste (mostly).   I used to love watching foreign films, and not just the stuffy pretentious ones, but the outrageous Jackie Chan films from the 80’s and 90’s. Yeah…watching a mile-a-minute-action-film…in another language…with a knitter…Super.Bad.Idea.

MSH: “What just happened”

Me: “He’s fighting four guys at once, and now he’s hanging off the end of a bus”

MSH: “How’d he get there? What’s he doing on a bus? Where did the bus come from?”

Me: Sigh. Roll eyes.  “Look, let me just rewind it…but you’ve got to watch it, okay?

MSH:  Nods head.  "Let me finish this row.”

I think it took us five hours to get through “Rumble in the Bronx”.