hiding in plain sight

hiding in plain sight

When the invitation first arrived, declaring the party to be a dress up one, my first thought was one of self-sabotage. Instead of thinking “oh yay! How fun!” it was “oh man, what if my costume is dumb and everything thinks I’m a giant nerd?”. Then I gave myself a strong talking to. “Self,” I said, “you ARE a giant nerd. You may as well have fun with it.”

And that is exactly what I decided to do.

The theme of the evening was “something starting with N”, and from there it was a quick jump to realise I could go as a Nerdy Knitter with very little additional work required. The anchor of my idea was my Linarii shawl not long finished, and the matching socks that were, at that point, still on the needles. That was easy. Then, thought I, what if I knitted a skirt, knowing I had a chunky cream yarn in my stash left over from Christmas – I had planned to use it to make stockings until advent was derailed by a double episode of plague.

Off to Pinterest I went, and narrowed down the options before reporting to the board and getting final approval. The pattern I went with was a cute and simple one, with a side serve of learning new things I’d been putting off – it was my first attempt at a provisional cast on, and it worked a treat. There was a minor issue of ending up with one stitch too many when I picked up the fold over waistband, but that was easily fixed with a k2tog. Next time I will have to double check I’m starting my long tail provisional correctly!

I skipped the front false seam detail – partly because I like a flat front but mainly because the first couple of rows I wasn’t entirely clear where the slip was going and I didn’t want to frog my work at that point. I’m glad I missed it, to be honest.

When I started, I thought I would have juuuuust enough yarn, based on the yardage of the pattern, but I ran out earlier than expected, and the skirt was still far too short to be considered decent, even if I wore something underneath it. Never fear, said I, I shall simply order more.

Of course, it’s never that simple, and while you would think something like a basic cream would be pretty safe from dye lot variations, you would be WRONG. As soon as I opened the parcel, I knew it was too yellow. The changed label didn’t help my suddenly skyrocketing crafty anxiety either. I was too far into the skirt to frog. Not far enough to be able to easily add a contrast hem and call it a day. I wondered if maybe it wasn’t as bad as I thought, and joined the yarn and started knitting.

It was as bad as I thought. Friends of friends were enlisted to scour not one but four Melbourne spotlights in search of the yarn with the old label. Not a one to be found. I threw the skirt aside in disgust for a week or so. While I was still sulking, I needed to take the children to the big smoke for an orthodontist appointment, and snuck into Spotlight while we were there. When I say big smoke, I am being rather facetious, and simply mean the next town over that’s slightly bigger than where I live, but big enough to have a Kmart AND a Spotlight. It’s not a big place in the scheme of things, and I didn’t hold out much hope. If Melbourne was out of stock of the very specific yarn I was after, there was no way, surely, that this little country backwater would have it.

Friends, I found the yarn**.

It wasn’t the same dyelot, but it was the same label and the same factory and that was close enough. I jumped in the chat with a gleeful video whisper-screeching “LOOK WHAT I FOUND!”. With my little treasure tucked under my arm, I checked out, jumped in the car, and headed for home…only to leave the bag in the car because I was suddenly scared. What if it still didn’t match?

Once I got over my self-sabotage, I was thrilled to see it matched. We were back in business and it didn’t take long after that to get it finished. The pattern is cute enough that I thought I could possibly wear the skirt afterwards, but it turns out when you are knitting with the cheapest chunky acrylic Spotlight offers, the drape isn’t all that great. Still, I think for it’s purpose, it turned out super cute.

So I had the big items ticked off, it was time to start pulling the rest of the outfit together. The black tank top I originally planned on wearing got switched for a skivvy as the weather cooled down rapidly. The stockings I planned on wearing under the socks, I ended up switching for purple leggings. I’d almost forgotten I had them, to be honest, until I was poking through my winter crates for the turtleneck, and stumbled over them. I found my purple bracelet that I made all the way back in 2012, which inspired me to consider making some earrings. Attempt one, trying to make yarn balls or skeins, was an epic fail, so I hit up Etsy and tripped over a cute little clay texture plate** that made my clay look like it was knitted fabric. Perfect!

For the finishing touch, I grabbed my purple Makers Tote from the Linarii. At the last minute I also thought…maybe I need on-theme yarn! And it just so happened I had some hand spun yarn in just the right colour!

When I originally came up with the plan, I wasn’t sure who else was going. If it turned out to be just Mr Barefoot and I, well, I could hide in the corner and knit away and no-one could give me grief because I was In Character! In the end, our whole friend group made it to the party (minus one husband with work commitments), and my yarn never left my bag. Mr Barefoot, an even more reluctant dresser upper than I, ended up going as Nerdy Knitter Support Crew, with an on-theme purple shirt, and yarn and needles stuffed in every pocket. I even found a purple measuring tape for him to wear around his neck, and he pilfered a knit scarf I’d packed for my going home outfit. Sadly, friends, I will have to leave that to your imagination, because there is no way in this world I will get permission to post a photo of his most fabulous outfit!

The party was so so much fun, and the costume idea was genius – the guest list was hugely varied and there was no risk of being under or over dressed, or feeling like we didn’t fit in, because everyone was dressed as wildly as everyone else. I think it was somewhere in the region of 1am before we collapsed into bed, and the next morning I’m sure I wasn’t the only one feeling every day of forty!

And so, with the last of the fortieth celebrated, the party shoes go back in the wardrobe for a bit… unless I can convince the mister to throw a housewarming party. That should definitely be a thing, shouldn’t it?

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