Nov 20, 2006

Pay it Forward

I’m not sure where to start. This weekend was productive and wonderful but there was one thing that happened that just left me speechless. Lets start there.

Balloon Wind ChimeI wound up going to Sugarloaf with my girls on Sunday. It was a gorgeous day and, more importantly, the Brenda's Yellow Bag was finished in time so we went. There was so much to see. Many times the girls saw stuff that tickled them but Stinkerbelle fell hardest for one thing. There was a very colorful booth where a man had made wind chimes that look like hot air balloons. He makes a wood frame and stretches the fabric over it. Beneath it hangs either a traditional basket or some other figure, with the chimes below. Stink was drawn to the one you see here with the dolphins. She wanted it very much but I resisted and told her I’d think about it.

Later in the day we were passing by the booth and she asked if I had made up my mind. We looked at it for a while and I told her, as I reached for a business card, that I just couldn’t do it that day. It wasn’t unreasonably expensive but we had bought a bunch of stuff already and I felt like I needed to put the brakes on.

This is when the vendor did something that left me speechless. He reached up, unhooked it, and gave it to Stink. I sputtered something like “you don’t have to” but he insisted. I reached for my wallet and he refused. I was shocked. Stink was amazed too. He told her that he wanted to give it to her. Suddenly I was struck with the idea of paying it forward and explained it to Stink. We thanked him and, as we walked away, we discussed how we’ll pay it forward. The timing is perfect because for the next 2 weeks I’ll be knitting unto others.

Brenda's BagI worked on the yellow bag to distraction most of last week and by Saturday night I was close enough to being finished that I just planted myself on the couch and stayed there until it was done. I knit until my fingers started to go numb and then I knit some more. Somewhere after SNL the bag finally went into the washer for the first of 3 felting cycles and at 3 am my head finally hit the pillow. Tired doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I blocked the bag a bit and delivered it, still damp, to Brenda, who makes the funky beaded earrings I wear. (You may remember that I showed you some of them as part of my answer to the funky scarf swap questionnaire. I’ve been buying them from her for years and my daughters and I both wear them.) She liked it! I am so relieved. I love making stuff for people and I’m incredibly flattered when they ask for something but I always worry that it may not be what they hoped for.

Brenda's Bag 2I didn’t use a pattern for the bag so, instead I’ll give you a few stats and observations on it. The bag isn’t deep, only an inch or so, but it’s roughly one foot tall and one foot wide which is just what I was aiming for. I used a bit more than 4 balls of Cascade 220 (in 5 colors) to make it and I doubled it throughout.

I’m happy with the circles which I added randomly throughout the bag. I know that I complained about the intarsia. I really do stay away from it normally but there are some projects that just need it and this was one of them. The thing that made it bearable this time was that I didn’t bother to weave in any of the ends of the yarn and, instead, I tied them off inside the bag and clipped them after it was felted. Weaving them in would have driven me round the bend.

The strap for this bag is only 6 stitches wide so I knit it in garter stitch to add thickness and, hopefully, strength. It’ll hold but I think that a more substantial strap may have been better. It just doesn’t feel like enough to me.

In the end, the most problematic aspect of this bag was fixing a value to it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be compensated in some way for my work and I know that it has value but I’m not comfortable thinking in those terms. That’s why I’ll never have a booth at a craft fair or sell my stuff in any formal way. I can’t imagine putting myself out there like that. I was one of those kids who couldn’t handle asking for a raise when she babysat and I haven’t changed all that much. Brenda did give me some mighty cool stuff though.

1 comment:

a. said...

The bag is fun!!!