Welcome to my living room. HWWLLB is blithely tapping away on his laptop, reading about such ingenious concepts as "In-Vitro Meat" and "Touch Screens that Touch Back" in the New York Times Magazine's Year in Ideas, while one of his Xmas presents whirls through the washer, happily rubbing itself up against dish towels as it shrinks down, down, down into a little felted blob.
I knitted it up last night, from yarn he picked out himself, for a project he specifically requested, while sitting about 5 inches from him, watching old episodes of Red Dwarf on DVD. Did he notice? Did he ask what I was knitting with that nice indigo Cascade 220 he picked? Nooooo. Though when I got out the yarn winder, he did actually ask what I was making. I told him I felt like winding yarn. It wasn't a lie.
It's nice, really, living with someone who enjoys the things I knit for him, and who is conveniently and totally oblivious to whatever it is I happen to be knitting. Last year I made him a lovely sweater vest, knit from some deep blue Arucanica Nature Wool that he picked out himself at the great little yarn shop in Black Mountain. I had actually started it a year before, and had to frog it twice when the sizing wasn't working out. I got pretty dang frustrated and put it away for a long, long time. For months, every time he saw me knitting, HWWLLB would moan, "when are you going to work on my sweater vest?"
So after a year or so, I did start working on his sweater vest. At first I did it covertly, only working on it at Stitch & Bitch, or other locations where I knew he'd never see it, furtively keeping my knitting bag covered up at home so that he wouldn't see the perfect rows of Shaker rib peeking out. But as Xmas approached, I was running out of time. I needed to use my late nights and Sunday mornings at home for this vest, or it wasn't going to get done. So I started working on it when he was there - but only when he seemed safely preoccupied with other things. Lucky for me, he's usually pretty preoccupied with one thing or another (like In-Vitro Meat).
One day he busted in on me right in the middle of his vest. I tried to look nonchalant. I kept on knitting. He didn't seem to notice the cold sweat breaking out on my forehead. "Sweetheart," he moaned, looking down at my lapful of wool "aren't you ever going to make that vest for me?"
"I'm sorry but I really need to finish up knitting for Xmas," I said coolly (notice no lying!) and just kept on knitting. He sighed and wandered away, muttering something about the price of good yarn. Ha! Fooled! Tricked! He didn't even recognize his own yarn!
It was then I realized what a gem of an opportunity this was. I began knitting the vest openly, on the couch, in the car, right in front of him. Not a blink. On Xmas morning when he opened the vest, he was overjoyed. He didn't know until months later when I told him that was what I had been working on feverishly in front of him right up til Xmas.
So it's been great making this little felted project for him right under his nose. The thing is... he keeps asking for a new vest. He wants a grey one this time, just like the last one, and I keep telling him that I don't have time right now but maybe in the spring - which is exactly what I was telling him right around this time last year. I'm just a little worried that he might be thinking that this, too, is a big fake-out and that a beautiful grey miracle vest is coming along swimmingly in my spare moments. I hope he's not too disappointed when all he gets is this felted thing. Um, I made it myself...