Nana's Knitting Shop

Knitting tales of a lifelong knitter
and yarn shop owner.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday; I certainly did. Happy New Year and I'll see you back at this space next week.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Ode to Cory

If you've ever visited the Shop on a Saturday, you've undoubtedly met this young woman. This is Cory and she is my charming, funny daughter. She's a whole lot older than she was in this picture, but she's got a thing about pictures and this was the only one I thought she'd let me publish.

Cory works on Saturdays and is the one wholly responsible for how beautiful the Shop looks. She cleans, she arranges, she inventories, she prices, she creates the beautiful scenes in the showcase and she makes sure that everyone around her is happy.

We found out recently that I'm not the only one who loves her to death.

Sheila and Cory spent one quiet afternoon looking at sweater patterns, lots and lots of sweater patterns. Cory wistfully told Sheila pattern after pattern,

"This one's beautiful, I wish I could make this for myself, but I have four kids and it would never happen."

Sheila called me the next week and said,

"I have this crazy idea. Since Cory will never be able to knit herself a sweater, why don't we do it? Wouldn't it be a great Christmas present? I'm sure you can find some volunteers and we'll each knit a piece. You know, I'll do the back, someone else can do a front, sleeve, etc."

"What a thoughtful, incredibly thoughtful idea! We'll code name it the 'Community Love Project'."

I set out to find volunteers which was a very easy task. I mentioned the idea and people came happily forward to join in the creation of a sweater for everyone's darling, Cory.

We selected the pattern and the yarn. We chose a Noro jacket pattern made from the gorgeously soft Kochoran and we all got to work!

Sheila made the back, Abby made the right front (reverse all shaping, sorry Abby), Lauren made a sleeve, Eileen made a sleeve and I made the left front.

Ah, the omnificence of gauge! I didn't even have to insist on gauge swatches as this little group is painfully aware of my gauge fanaticism.

"You want to fit, don't you," is my constant mantra.

And here's the fascinating part - Eileen and Sheila got gauge on a size 10 needle, Abby and I were on a size 9, and little Lauren was on a size 8. All of the pieces were done within about a week and each piece fit to the other like peas in a pod, pearls in an oyster, spoons in a drawer.

Community knitting could be the wave of the future! Imagine how many beautiful sweaters we could make in a year if everyone only had to do a piece. No one would ever get sick of the project and put it away. (Please, please don't ask me to do sleeves.)

Now, this little mission was top secret as you might imagine. It's a cold day when you can pull the wool over Miss Nosy Rosie's eyes. She pops in and out all of the time; she always wants to be where the action is. And, not all of the participants knew each other.

Abby came in to show me her progress on the right front (reverse all shaping, sorry Abby) and was a bit taken aback when Eileen came in. Not knowing Eileen, Abby tried to discreetly hide her piece. Imagine her surprise when Eileen whispered,

"I have a sleeve in my bag."

All pieces completed, collar attached, it was time to put this little beauty together. All of the secret agents got together one Tuesday evening and we had it ever so professionally finished in no time. Now, little Miss Cory wanted to come to that little party and I had to tell her she couldn't because the evening was "for customers only." She's been mighty mad at me for the last several weeks as I tried to keep this secret. I could never come up with any good reason why she couldn't join us so she ended up thinking that I was just plain mean.

Everyone worked on the finishing together - Eileen sewed seams, Lauren set in a sleeve while Sheila wove in ends.

From left to right: Lauren, Sheila and Eileen

Most of the sweater elves

Abby couldn't join us for these photos, but she was there in spirit!

Never one to be left out, our other dear Eileen crocheted on a button loop and sewed on the button. She also took this beautiful gift home and wrapped it. No one else could have wrapped it more beautifully - you must know Eileen to know wrapping splendor. She said, "I have to do something! I feel like the kid who's locked out of the playground looking through the fence. I want to play, I want to play!" Eileen took the pictures so she wasn't in them either.

Nana's Official Poet Laureate (who is way too shy to be identified) even wrote this little poem for the card.

This sweater for Cory
was a secret to keep

But when she opens it
Mom hopes she will weep

It was finished last night
when the elves could do no more

We hope the love is transferred
to this mother of four

And weep she did (pictures to come, no matter how embarrassing). I got her to the Shop under false pretenses (she was mad about that too) and she opened her magnificent gift as everyone who loves her watched. She was absolutely flabbergasted, perfectly, amazingly flabbergasted.

As I've said from the very beginning, it takes a village. It takes a village to build a knitting shop; it takes a village to build a family (of knitters or otherwise); and it takes a village of generous, loving and wonderful villagers to make a Cory cry.

Thank you all, not only the knitters of the Community Love Project, but to everyone who was excited about the secret mission, kept the secret mission secret and to all who've been so kind to both of us. We are very touched and it is such a privilege to have met and come to know you. Merry Christmas to each and every one of you and Merry Christmas to you, Cory.

Oh, and to those of you who grumble when I mention it, let this be a lesson - gauge really, really, really does count!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Not Nearly Famous, But...

my name is in print! The Spring Knitscene magazine from Interweave Press was recently published and contains the three patterns I edited over the summer. That's me under the Technical Editors section!

Here are two of the projects I edited.

On the left is a Market Bag and the Bow Tie Tank is pictured on the right.

My father always told me math would come in handy!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Prince's Identity Crisis

"I am not Steve!"

You're right, my darling, but you certainly have been a frog. After careful consideration, and after force feeding you several slices of humble pie, Rumplestiltskin has convinced me to turn you back into a Prince. (By the way, oh Prince of Engineering genius, my panel of experts had a very, very hard time finding the zag that should have been a zig on your lovely St. Mawes sweater.)

You should know that we are turning you back into a Prince even though the Royal Parents, the King and Queen of Montana had already commissioned the Official Royal Monument of your Highness. They, like I, thought you might end up being a frog forever. (Oh, that Rumplestiltskin is such a softy.) It will serve as a constant reminder of what happens to sharp-eyed Engineer Princes whose manners are dubious. Thank you, Royal Parents, it will be the perfect accoutrement to the dazzling Castle decor.

And now, back to the Prince's Identity Crisis...

My dear friend Debi was in the Shop one Saturday as was my Prince. He was working up front on my computer and Deb and I were knitting and chatting at the table. Now, my friend Deb is a very polite knitter indeed and wanted to be sure to include the Prince in the conversation.

"So, Steve, what do you do for a living?"

"Why, I'm an engineer."

"Oh, that's interesting. And what do you think of your wife's knitting shop, Steve?"

"Well, I think it's just great."

"We all think it's just great too, Steve."

And so it went for the better portion of the afternoon. As Deb was leaving, she said,

"It was great meeting you, Steve."

"His name is Rob," I whispered.

"Rob! Your name is Rob? You let me call you Steve all afternoon and your name is Rob? Geez, my brother's name is Rob. I could have remembered that. I can't believe you let me call you Steve all afternoon."

"I guess I didn't want to be rude."

Hmmm. Who knew manners were a relative social behavior!

And so even while the Prince was a frog, everyone here at the Shop called him Steve. As a matter of fact, it has been decreed that every knitter's husband or significant other is Steve. Steve is the name of all men who watch in bewilderment as their women knit and knit and knit and knit. They knit, they swear, they rip, they hide their booty, they calculate, and they scream in jubilation when they get it right. It doesn't matter that all that knitting results in beautiful works of art; if your non-knitting significant other is like my Steve, creating them one stitch at a time seems like the craziest thing in the world to do.

Steve, oh Prince of my dreams, Eagle-eyed Frog, my Robbie, you're a good sport and you've unwittingly made Nana's Knitting Shop a much funnier place to be.

Oh, and if anyone wants to rub the belly of the Official Royal Monument for good luck, it will be here in the Shop until it's final installation in the castle courtyard!