Every year the Knitting and Yoga Retreat falls very close to or overlaps with my boyfriend's birthday. He very kindly understands that, while I love him, there's no way I'm skipping the retreat but that I will likely reward him for his understanding this with some hand knitted something. The thing about Ori is, he's no regular knitting customer. He is forever making odd requests-- knitted handcuffs, a knitted roasted turkey hat, a knitted menorah hat. In fact, currently I am making him a bright orange hat that will feature, at the top, a knitted Fanta soda bottle, so that he can attend a party this weekend as Fanta Claus.
The 2010 retreat happened to fall a week before his birthday. Once we returned from the island, I had a whole extra day to spend in Portland, which was wonderful. In fact, I recommend that if you attend the 2011 retreat you make extra time to wander around the city for a day or two-- there's lots to see and do and eat. During my wanderings, I stopped in KnitWit, a cool little yarn shop, and picked up some chunky red yarn. Ori had requested a gnome hat and so I decided it would be the perfect gift for his birthday. I started working on that hat as I rode the mail ferry around the islands off the coast of Portland. I finished it a few days later and then set to work on a white beard, which I improvised, starting at the point and increasing as I went.
I have to say I was quite pleased with the results, as was Ori. In fact, he was so happy that when he recently went on two back-to-back road trips across the U.S., he took the hat with him and posed in front of all sorts of famous landmarks like Mount Rushmore. In the picture at the top of this post, he's standing by the pool at the Hearst Castle in San Simeon. And if you click this link, you can see what happened to him when he wandered the streets of Chicago in his gnome ensemble. Very funny.
So, okay, it's not exactly a Santa Claus getup, but it's close enough. I hope you all are enjoying your holiday season and that, as a gift to yourself, you'll sign up for KYA 2011.