I have a friend who is a brilliant silk artist.
She started out painting silk scarves as a hobby. Now, she does glorious hand-painted mandalas. I can't copy the pictures from her website, but I promise you it's well worth going and browsing for a while. (The site is in German text, but my friend speaks English like a native; I'm not sure why she's never gone bilingual with it.)
Over the years, as she has honed her talents, she has given me at least half a dozen stunning scarves. I blogged one of them here. But I also have elephants, seals, floral patterns, abstractions: a cornucopia of beautiful silkiness.
One day last summer, I looked at some fiber in the spinning pile, and realized that it wanted to be a shawl or scarf for my friend. (Never make a gift for someone unless the fiber tells you that's what it wants to be.)
The fiber came out in her colors. I got about 325 yards of chain-ply from three ounces of merino-mohair blend (Spunky Eclectic, once again, colorway "Flowering Weeds").
This being me, I started spinning in early June, thinking I might get it done for her birthday at the end of the month.
I finished knitting the shawl in October.
Before blocking. Note how little of the yarn is left over: it came out just exactly right.
The pattern is Ishbel, by Ysolda Teague. And I wish I had taken some better photos of it. But I blocked it, and then waited another month or so to weave in the two ends (would hate to rush anything), and then I just wanted to get it in the mail.
I sent it in mid-December, thinking that she might possibly have it in time for Christmas. Though I am usually pretty scattered about Christmas and gifts (I am great at thinking of nice things I would like to send people, and not very good about carrying through on my plans), I did manage to get a few things in the mail this year. Even a couple of Christmas cards, though only a couple.
Of course everything takes ages to arrive internationally, especially over the holidays. Still, thanks began to trickle in from people. But earlier this week, I realized I'd never heard from my friend. And after some thought - you hate to push someone to acknowledge a gift they might not have liked! - I wrote her on Facebook to ask if she had gotten a package from me.
Wouldn't you know: it never arrived.
She, being an optimist, assured me that she sent a friend in Florida a package at the start of December, and he only just got it this week. So we hope it went surface mail, and might show up in a week or two.
But wouldn't it just figure that when I finally get around to acting on a nice instinct and making something for someone who has made me so many nice things over the years, it vanishes without a trace...
UPDATE, Jan 31: All it took was a little griping for the postal gods to take note! It arrived today, about seven weeks after I mailed it, with the airmail sticker still on it. And the recipient was very happy.