To celebrate Mardi Gras this year, the members of the Mardi Gras Knitters group on Ravelry participated in a swap. Organized by the group moderator, Deborah from St. Louis, each New Orleans member was paired with a non-resident-fan-of-MG. Packages were to include one knit item, one small project, and whatever else swappers thought would be appreciated by their partners for under the cost-cap.
I was paired with the Mardi Gras Knitterly Queen herself, the organizer of the group, Deborah. What I learned is that she (like me) has a new Cavelier King Charles Spaniel in her life who is the apple of her eye. She also belongs to a St. Louis Mardi Gras Krewe called the Banana Bike Krewe. Finally, she loves all things vintage (also like me). She is my new BFF.
I chose as my knit project a retro dog sweater made for her new baby. The pattern is from Coats & Clark Book #133: Children's Knits and was published in the 1950s (another Brimfield find). I chose an amazing yarn by trendsetter called Aura to give the body of the sweater a soft all-over sparkle, pairing it with Country(Naturally Caron) in purple for warmth. I added green and gold for the highlights and added a crochet border. Finally, to kick it up a notch, I attached Mardi Gras beads to the front so that Steuben will not have to catch any (it's tough without opposable thumbs). Here is the sweater modelled expertly by my friend, Edel's Cav, Bailey. If you want to catch the sweater in action on the recipient, be sure to attend the Beggin' Pet Parade in St. Louis...and be sure to keep your eye on the prize winner's stand.
A little trip down memory lane brings me back to when my husband and I had the honor of escorting our rescue Weimeraner, Taylor, at his debut as the Duke of the Krewe of Barkus (invited by the Queen, Momus, owned by dear departed friend Dr. Eduardo Marvez and Robert Ripley). To support Krewe of Barkus and their wonderful work at the animal rescue facilities in New Orleans, click HERE. I can highly recommend investing in their COOKBOOK (Deborah will be recieving one of these as well as a little lagniappe) which features recipes from New Orleans' greatest chefs/resturaunts.
For a project I chose a vintage pattern from a periodical published in England in 1888-1900 called, ironically, Weldon's Practical Knitter. It is a pattern for what was at the time the height of fashion, Cycling Hose/Socks...with a turned down top embellished with fair-isle style fleur-de-lis. Along with the pattern went the appropriate lace-weight merino yarns in purple, green, and gold/yellow.
I fashioned a set of Mardi Gras stitch markers to sweeten the pot...
And wrote to my new friend, Kathy Bray at Alsatian Soaps to ask for a custom colored package of her incredible knitter's soaps which come in a trio shaped like little balls of yarn. They, and the peppermint soap, have saved my hands this winter...check her out on her KNITTERS HANDS WEBSITE...or at Jimmy Beans Wool.
Some Limited Edition Zapp's Chips in Voodoo Gumbo for snacking while knitting...AND some beads to top it all off.
This was such a great swap that the challenge was not in finding enough items to swap, but in limiting the contents to keep close to the cost cap.
Stay tuned to see the amazing package I recieved from The Queen.