Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Little Piggy Story

I have had a lovely adventure in knitting over the last few months that I would like to share because it was such a cool thing to have happen.
About mid May I got an email out of the blue from a young lady in Berlin.

Katharina to me:  my boyfriend and I went to Reykjavik in April where we rented a house from a private person.  There we saw this amazing pig standing on the window sill.  We went to the hand knitting society, but nobody could tell us who might have made it.  I searched the web and saw your knitting blog and the photo with the pink pigs.  Was it you who knitted the pig on our photo?  And if so, would it be possible at all to convince you to knit a pig for me?  I would be so happy to have such a brilliant present for my friend.
She included this photo in her email. 

I believe that this was the photo she saw on my blog.  These are pigs I knitted for cast member in Charlotte's Web.

At first, I thought it was an Estonian pig from the Kiri Kari book (which I would love to own if anyone has a copy they'd like to sell).  But no, it wasn't.  I searched Ravelry for a pattern for a pig like this and there were none there.  It is larger than my little pink pigs and clearly a different pattern but similar.

My reply to Katharina:
No, sadly, it was not me who knit your pig.  I was going to say that the pattern for that pig came from Estonia, but after looking a little closer, it is different.  I don't know where to find the pattern, but I can probably create something very similar.

We emailed back and forth for a while trying to decide what would be a good trade for the pigs.  She made several suggestions and told me more about herself and her life.  I didn't want this to be terribly complicated or expensive or to put her out so I suggested she just keep her eyes open and the right thing would present itself.  We both felt that exchanging money for the pigs would not feel right.

During our conversations, it came out that she wanted this as a present for her boyfriend.  I suggested that it might be nice if I made two - one for her to keep and another to give. 

Aaah, Teresa, you can read my mind, I would love to keep one!  And I heard that knitted pigs are scaredy-cats and hate to travel alone, it is much better to send them in two!  I think an exact copy in color and size is the best, but if it is boring for you to make two the same, you have artistic freedom! 

And so it was decided.  The conversations started in May (the 13th).  I was in the middle of a couple of big knits and knits with deadlines (passion flowers, Mom's birthday present, galapagos socks), so I didn't get to start until much later.  And then Zuzu got in my knitting bag and tore the beginnings of the first pig off the needles.

Both Katharina and I were excited about this and our correspondence continued.

She wrote:  I am also very excited and it is so hard not to tell my boyfriend about it, I think of the project at least three times a day . . . At least I could tell my sister in Chile and my best friend in my hometown Munich about it!

I sent this photo to her about the middle of June to show that I had started knitting -
this was before I began the colorwork and before the dog ate the pig.
Dena helped me chart the color work as all I had to go by was the first photo and sometimes it takes two sets of eyes to get it right.

Katharina replied:  I see:  good news, though I am not sure if it is the rear or the front . . .

A few days later Katharina sent me this:
I have everything complete!  If you could send me your address, I can send you the package!

Then, on July 16th, Katharina's package arrived.  I was stunned and thrilled.  It was something really special and very international.  She managed to get Martin, her boyfriend, and her sister in South America.

Everything was inside a lovely wooden box:

 And she wrote me the nicest note.  I need to apologize to her for not returning that favor.  When I got to the post office with the pigs, I was still trying to decide how to package and mail them and I just forgot about a note.

In her note, Katharina said:
Finally I have things together and can send them to you.  Haribo Gumibears are I think the most famous German Sweets.
Yes, Katharina, and everyone in my family loves them!

The thick wool comes from my sister; she lives in Santiago de Chile.  When I told her about the pigs, she went to a market and gave the wool to her manager that went to Berlin.  I picked it up at the hotel lobby.

The thin wool is from a small knitting shop next to my house.

And the postcard shows Checkpoint Charly, probably the most famous point on the border between the GDR and West Germany.  It is approximately 300 meters away from my house.

And most important:  the box!  I told my boyfriend that I would like to send a birthday present to a friend from University in Munich.  I said it was her 30th birthday and that she used to like knitting and that I would like to send her a box for her wool. . . I did the image manipulation and Martin engraved the pig with his laser cutting machine.

The box is very special - the image is the picture Katharina sent me to use as a pattern to knit the pigs.  I meant to get a photo of the pigs with the box but forgot.  That is ok though because as I was knitting, I wrote down the pattern.  I will be putting it up on this blog and Ravelry as soon as I test it or find someone else to test knit it.

Here are the pigs . . .

But after getting the lovely package with all the goodies, I had a little thought . . . I knew that Katharina was going to keep one pig and the other would go to Martin.  And we had already decided that pigs were scared to be alone.  I didn't want anyone to be lonely, so I let the two piggies play together a while so there would be plenty.  Pigs are like rabbits, right?

The pigs posed for their family portraits and then headed off to the airport to begin their travels . . .

Eventually arriving in Berlin and moving in with the very nice Katharina, 
there to live Happily Ever After . . . .



Corina said...

Wow, wat a lovely story! Your pigs turned out great!

Karen said...

Such cute pigs and a fun story. We raised pigs as well as chickens, cows, grain and hay on the farm in MT where I grew up. Karen in MT

Katie Verna said...

Such a fun story and such gorgeous pigs! Clearly they haven't been rolling in the mud!

Any chance you'll post the pattern? Pretty please?!
Katie V in NC

Teresa said...

Yes, the pattern will be available in a few days. I have two patterns ready to publish.

Jane McLellan said...

Oh, I do like stories like that! Cute piggies.

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane said...

How adorable, and a grant story! I'll be watching for the pattern. I don't care for love pigs, but I do love toy pigs, and who doesn't love Charlotte?

Unknown said...

What a nice way to begin the day. Your pigs are wonderful. Thanks

Kathy Niklewicz said...

The sounds like a story from Readers Digest! I was totally blown away by it, and absolutely enchanted! Your 'fair isle' pigs are adorable (brilliantly done), and the little ones are icing on the cake! What a charming saga of truly international proportions!
I'm sure your pattern will be VERY popular!

Verena aka the Munich friend mentioned above ;-) said...

I never felt like I wanna cuddle a pig until I've seen these pigs! Plus a great story about an Island-Berlin-pig-cooperation! Wunderbar :-)