I can’t believe I have never discussed elephants. Perhaps because I feared retribution from Karla. But with the amount of miles between us and her preoccupied with her life, I think I will.
Once in 2002 I went down to Philly with my sister and Karla. I cannot remember the full itinerary of the trip, just involved a deconstructed Volkswagen and a hunt for somewhere to eat in University City. We were all hungry and driving around to find something that one of the others had seen but having no luck. Finally I say maybe it was a purple elephant. And my sister decides to explain to Karla that what I mean is it was a figment of imagination because purple elephants do not exist. To which Karla responds with a crisp and cranky “I know”.
Purple Elephant became a phrase I would use in Karla’s presence to get a rise out of her. Then one thursday, I saw Ashley knitting a stuffed elephant. After Karla had Micah, I decided that it would be a perfect gift for him (I never made the beautiful argyle blankets I had planned for Micah and Erin). The pattern is called Elijah by Ysolda Teague. I should warn you when you start knitting you begin with the head and then the trunk and depending on who is watching the comments might only be adult appropriate. I believe I used Lion Wool Yarn colorway Purple.
Operation slip elephant in unnoticed is semi complete. We were at the Barnstormers and “suddenly” Micah was playing with this elephant. Mike said “Oh, you don’t want him putting Erin’s toy in his mouth” I said “No, that’s his toy”. Karla tuned in and said did Ashley make that for Erin, I said “No, that’s Micah’s”. Karla said “Oh that was nice of her” I said “Did you see what it is?” “Yea a cute purple elephant…HEY!” Once she said it aloud she got it.
So I forget how I came upon this pattern, but it was darling and involved colorwork, so I could not pass up the chance to knit it. The pattern is Ella Funt by Pamela Wynne. And as you see from the name it was clear who was going to receive the cardigan, or whose child to be more specific. For this one I used Cascade 220 Sport (I’m pretty sure of that, but no longer have yarn labels to confirm). I started it probably in June of 2011, knowing if I focused I could get it done before living the country in the middle of August. I did not focus. It was not just tying up everything in my life in the states and simply enjoying the time, I was also distracted by other projects. It was summer so I was more drawn to sewing. And so the project came the Dominican Republic with me. I knit on it during training. It made a good conversation piece with my Capital Host Family and Spanish Facilitators, helped me get some of the spanish knitting words firmly in my vocabulary. Of course I did not exactly explain why the elephants were purple. Just what I was making, what else I could make, how long I had knitted, and how did I learn. It was sent off with a si dios quiere attitude (or a devil-may-care one, depending on your preference) because at the time I had no faith in he in the dominican postal system (a package I sent from DC on August 17th did not come into my possession until January 2nd, that is in fact when any package sent by US for me during the fall was received).
My sister did receive the package in a timely manner, but could not open it because Karla was in the house. But later slipped it on Micah before Karla picked him up. And look how much he grew in a year, and how cute he is. What I cannot tell from the picture is, whether his size still deceives one over the fact that he feels like a 50 pound bag of cement to hold.
There ends the tale of the purple elephants, at least for now.