Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Festive Fish Chronicles Begin

Perhaps you know of the Festive Fish pattern.  There are several fishy patterns floating around, but the one I have is from Knitter's Magazine, Summer 1998, designed by Paula Levy.  (I think it's the original fish pattern of this type, but I could be wrong.  If anyone knows for sure, please leave a comment and clue me and the rest of my readers in!)
I was surfing Ravelry one day when I came across some pics of fish blankets that looked so beautiful, I got inspired and pulled my bags full of sport weight Idena Juvel from my hoard... er, I mean my stash, my artist's palette, if you will... and started knitting.
I chose to use Paula Levy's pattern because her fish not only have eyes and fins, they are smiling!  I wanted happy fish.
Well, I don't know if they're happy or not, but they sure are rambunctious.
One day I went out for a swim at the Y--this was back in Tennessee, where the air is so humid in summer, you feel like you're already swimming the second you step outside, and yet it isn't refreshing in the least.  Because it's hot.  Because the air is still.  Because the air hangs there between the hills like a hammock made of sixteen layers of molasses.
I used to try to come up with accurate ways to describe just how hot and humid it was, and how it affected me.
As in, "My head feels like it's stuffed with wet cotton balls and someone is running a razor through it."  Or, "My head feels like someone strung a suspension bridge made of wet rags between my ears, and Shrek is jumping up and down on it every time I take a step."
In other words, the air was so heavy it gave me a lot of headaches.  But I digress.
I went to the Y, and I didn't take the fish, because even though they are made of superwash wool, I didn't think I could keep track of them all in the pool.
I got home, and darned if I didn't find the fish on the floor, watching TV!  I could have sworn I left them on the couch!

Apparently they are hooked on reruns of Stargate SG-1.
Then I noticed there were several missing from the school: turned out, they were in the kitchen, microwaving popcorn!
Those little devils--they get into everything.  You can’t leave them alone for a minute.  I'm just lucky they didn't hide the remote.
Well, I knitted more fish, even though at times I thought it would have made more sense to use a worsted weight, because sport weight is just a hair thicker than fingering for heaven's sake, and I started thinking I'd be knitting fish for the rest of my life.
Then I moved.  I packed the fish.  I really thought they wouldn't be able to cause any trouble, safely packed away, but now I wonder if they had something to do with a box that went missing during the move.
Here's what happened.  It was so hot and humid when the movers came to load the truck that the little numbered and color-coded labels they put on every box and piece of furniture  to keep track of your shipment fell off in the heat.
When the truck arrived in California, after traveling across the country in one of the hottest summers on record, there were about a dozen boxes that had no labels.  I wasn't completely sure I got everything that was mine, but I was so darn tired, I hardly cared.  If you move a lot, you realize, you don't have your possessions, your possessions have you.  Lightening the load starts sounding really appealing.  I had already given away a lot of stuff I just didn't want to pack (and unpack) again.
Anyway, a couple of days later I got a call from the friendly lady at the moving company.  She said, "This may sound like a weird question, but are you missing a box of cookbooks?  There were several different people moving to California at the same time as you, and their stuff was on the same truck, and there's a lady in Los Angeles who says she has a box of cookbooks that isn't hers, and she is living in a loft, and doesn't have a lot of space, and she would really like to get rid of that box."
I said I wasn't sure, but I would check, and if she could ask the L.A. gal specific titles, I would know whether they were mine or not.  She said she would check, and I made myself unpack boxes of books that were likely to contain cookbooks before I unpacked things that were more crucial, like, say, dishes on which to place the food one might cook.
One cookbook more or less on my bookshelf?  I really didn't care.  But it turned out I had all my cookbooks, so I called the moving company lady back and told her, and she said, "Oh, well," and that was that.
And so the days passed, and so it was that I unpacked, and I found many UFOs (a.k.a., unfinished objects, for those of you who don't know), among them The Fish.
Here they are, jumping onto the blinds in their new home, scoping out the view of palm trees and ocean in the distance:

I finally got down to the last box marked "bedroom," which turned out to hold my knitting books.  Except they weren't all there.  And there were no more boxes to unpack.

I called the nice lady at the moving company again.  "I hate to say this, I know it's been awhile, but I'm now realizing I'm missing a lot of knitting and crocheting books and magazines."  
She said she had just heard from the L.A. gal a couple of days before; she was still hanging onto that box of "cookbooks" and also, she now said, "photo albums," and still feeling somewhat put-upon to have this box of books in the middle of her living room, especially when she had so little space.
"Well, I have all my cookbooks, and I brought my photo albums in the car with me.  Is it possible she just glanced at the books, and they are really my knitting books, not cookbooks, and the things she thinks are photo albums are really the three-ring binders that hold all the patterns I've already knitted and crocheted?"
The lovely lady at the moving company said she would check.
Long story slightly shorter, the L.A. gal did indeed have my books, and Fed Ex brought them to my door a few days later.  Never mind that my last name was on the outside of the box the whole time!!!  (Hellooooo!)  Or that if she had bothered to check a title or two, I would have known immediately that the box was mine, and we could have gotten it out of her living room a month earlier.  (Helloooo, anyone home?)  After all, "More Big Girl Knits" pretty much gives it away.

But I'm grateful that at least she hung onto the box and didn't just toss out my books.  And along the way, I had a couple of cheerful and funny chats with the sweetie-pie at the moving company.

I figured the whole mix-up was caused by the hot, humid weather that made the stickers fall off (did I mention it was hot?  and humid?), and then I was thinking, why didn't I or the movers think to write the sticker color and number on each box instead of using the stickers?  (Hellooooo.)
But now I'm thinking, it was the fish.  They want me to stop making all these shawls and scarves and squares and such, and focus on fish.  They want their school to grow.  They want to be made into a blanket; they do not want to remain a UFO for a year and a half.

Somehow they got out of their box in the moving van, somewhere in Oklahoma, perhaps, and removed the sticker from the box of knitting books.  Sure, they took some others too, to hide their tracks.  Who knows what they did with those stickers.  Maybe they ate them.
I hope that by blogging about these mischievous critters, they will behave, and I will fish more often.  I will still work on seven other projects at the same time, of course--shhh!  Don't tell the fish!--but I will finish this blanket, little by little, inch by inch, step by step, fish by fish.

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