"What is a knitting swap?" is the question I am asked whenever I answer the question, "what are you working on now?" A knitting swap is when a group of knitters agree on a theme, are paired with partners, and then (on an agreed upon date) exchange "care" packages related to the theme. They may or may not be a Ravelry (online knitting consortium) phenomenon, but even if they are not, they have been elevated to a new height by the advent of the Internet and computer connectivity. Knitting used to be a relatively solitary pursuit...NOT ANYMORE!!!
I was immersed in reading Stephanie Myer's vampire teen-novels and was really enjoying them, and so I searched Ravelry for fan groups of the series. To my delight, precisely the same time I was most deeply immersed, Terik was forming the Swap.
I chose my "vampire name" (Carlislesse Cullen: chosen because Carlisle is the Vampire patriarch, an ER doc, and zen-like in his ability to resist the blood that he most loves (BBQ ribs for me)), was assigned a fabulous partner, Megdoula (aka Juniper...her werewolf name), and was off and knitting.
There is no way Terik could have known what a good match she made when she paired Megdoula and I for the swap. My father was an ObGyn...Megdoula is a doula. I grew up in Maine...Megdoula spent some very important years in Maine and even named her daughter, Camden, after the town there. I was married in New Orleans and lived there for 15 years...Megdoula's husband lived in New Orleans and they spent their honeymoon there. We both love our children and our knitting. Serendipity!
During the two month period the fourth book of the series was published and online discussions were fast and furious, expertly moderated by Terik, SheWhoKnits, and Svendel. Oh, and one can't forget Knottieknitter, though not officially a moderator. We has secretive password-protected Cave meetings, and trivia contests. These folks are experts at chatting.
I sent two pre-swap packages. The first was filled with classic New Orleans foods: Zattarain's Red Beans and Rice mix, Tobasco sauce, and Tobasco red-pepper jelly AND werewolf-medallion Mardi Gras beads. Here's the amazing part...it arrived the day after Megdoula's wedding anniversary...pure Kismet!!! Next I mailed her a "mystery pattern" I designed of a wolf howling at the moon for a washcloth.
Finally the date for the big swap arrived:
1) Knit a bag/purse/handbag: OK, I fudged a little, since I didn't use the "earthy colors" and chose instead a Twilight Theme bag. I used the Tasha pattern, knit using Rowan Denim yarn in black. I then designed a closure piece which is a modified two-rib wide piece knit in ecru denim. Attached a magnetic closure, then improvised an apple to sew over the magnet. I like it because it is bold and graphic and would look nice to someone even if they were not familiar with the book cover motif...but looks just like the hands holding the apple which is symbolic of the series.
2) A small pattern with yarn: for this I chose "Bella gloves" by Stitch & Snitch. Juniper loves to knit fingerless gloves, and this pattern is named after the protagonist of the story. The yarn I chose is made in Maine and is a lovely angora bunny yarn.
3) Stitch Markers: My first foray into making my own markers...in Twilight theme. I also included an extra stitch marker made with a Chinese medallion sporting the sacred dog-wolf.
4) Lagniappe (see my previous post on "lagniappe" for definition): Knitting needles made in Maine with apple tops,a "Twilight Knitting Swap" keyring I crafted,a wolf button, a tiny pair of red foldable knitting scissors (medical types appreciate good tools), coffee candy, a Twilight pin, a Guide to Forks, and last-but not least, a bobble-head Jacob wolf toy wearing a knit monogrammed sweater...all placed in a box I crafted to look like the Twilight book and placed inside the bag (in which it fits perfectly).