Nana's Knitting Shop

Knitting tales of a lifelong knitter
and yarn shop owner.

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!


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