Knitting has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. My first knitting friend was my mother. She taught me to knit when I was five. I was enchanted. I knit garter stitch squares with all the odds and ends of yarn she provided. The first project I remember was a navy blue vest in garter stitch made from Phentex yarn. I still remember feverishly sewing on the last pocket so I could wear it to school. I don’t know what happened to the vest, although I do remember wearing it a lot. And then I moved on to other things.
When I was 16 I fell in love. With a married man. He was a musician and it was the seventies. Our love affair has continued for 37 years. I am still wildly in love with him today and I once spent an entire summer spinning yarn and knitting him a pair of socks but that’s a story for another day. The only problem is he doesn’t know my name. And we only meet about every four years or so when he comes to town. He is The Great Canadian Icon (TGCI) and I have been his devoted fan all these years. It’s been a bit of one sided affair, but you know what musicians are like. He is also one of my earliest knitting friends. No, he doesn’t knit but he has been there for me with his guitar. He sings to me while I knit, and patiently strums my favourites over and over…….
In spite of the ongoing affair with TGCI I became a young wife and mother. While I was very pregnant with my son I knit a Cowichan Sweater for my husband for Christmas. It was winter and we lived in a draughty house and after my husband left for work in the morning I would climb back into bed and work on his sweater. It was bliss, my knitting resting on the baby in my belly.
Two years later and I was a single working mother. I knit pullovers for my toddler son with Sayelle yarn purchased at Eaton’s or Woodward’s on $1.49 Day. I spent the evenings knitting after my son went to sleep. As I knit I watched reruns of the Mary Tyler Moore show. Mary preferred needlepoint, but I felt she was a kindred spirit.
Soon my son was past the toddler age and not exactly clamoring for knitwear. So I knit for myself mostly. I fell in love again and eventually moved to Montreal and the winters were very long……. There were no reruns of Mary, but TGCI and I became closer. I made friends with the owners of the LYS and bought yarn. The first winter I knit 14 sweaters.
Two years later I moved back to BC but I was totally burnt out on knitting. I packed up my knitting needles and didn’t touch them for eight years. This fact amazes me now but back then it was okay. Just a phase I needed to go through.
And then…….one day I stumbled across a yarn store while on vacation on Vancouver Island. In the window was a scarf made from Collinette Point Five. I had never seen anything like it, it was something called “hand painted”. It had blues and greens and reds and it was thick and thin and chunky and I had to have it. HAD to have it! I bought a skein and sat in a chair out by the lake and knit a long strip of stocking stitch. Then I unraveled it and knit it again. I was mesmorized by the colors and how each stitch was a different shade. I went back to the store the next day and purchased more yarn and patterns and I haven’t put down my needles since…….and the shop owner and her staff became knitting friends.
If I close my eyes I can still recall the bliss of that afternoon by the lake. And now I laugh when I think of not knitting for 8 years. How was that possible?
My sister lost her husband and the two of us bonded over knitting and now she is one of my best knitting friends. My husband patiently waits while I check out a new yarn shop or while I finish my row…….he is a knitting friend. My soon to be daughter in law is a knitter, another kindred spirit in the family.
Today I knit everyday……sometimes for only an hour or two in the evening, but everyday. I no longer work in banking. I work in a yarn shop and I teach knitting classes and I have many friends there of all ages. I am surrounded by amazing, creative women who inspire me and knit with me and they are all my knitting friends.
These days I have Mary on DVD and sometimes for old times sake Mary and I spend the evening together. My toddler son has grown up and in December he will become a father. So I am knitting for my grandchild to be while I watch Mary toss her knitted blue striped hat in the air and my life has fallen into place……..I am right where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing. Life is good when you have knitting friends…