And Onward

I’m exhausted, and frankly not at all worried about it.  It’s been a heck of a few weeks, and I just had a terrific but super busy weekend working and visiting in St. Thomas, that was the loveliest of all possible ways to finish off the years travelling.  If you’re ever near the city, don’t miss two things. The Little Red Mitten – my favourite kind of shop, sprawling, full, tidy and chock full of nice people – and the life size statue of  Jumbo. (He was really, really big.)

(You can read about why there’s an enormous elephant at the entrance to town here – but be warned, it’s a little sad.)
I visited old friends, I taught very nice knitters- I even made a knitter in my spare time.

See that? That’s my sister-in-law Robyn, who took to knitting like a duck takes to water, and she’s holding her very first knitted thing. I spent a single evening with her, and she can cast on, cast off, and both knit and purl with equal skill.  She made a very nice coaster. (It was almost a bookmark, but she stuck with it.)  She had almost another whole coaster by the time I left, and kept saying things like "THIS IS GREAT. I LOVE THIS."  I should have left her more wool than I did, because really, this is how thrilled she was.

(I feel like we all recognize that face. That exact expression arrives on the face of most new knitters when they realize they can MAKE THINGS. It’s the face of a woman who’s felt the ignition of a plan.  It’s the face of a woman who’s going to have to be talked out of knitting her husband a sweater before Christmas. I feel honoured to have been there to immortalize it. I’m sure Robyn will think it is the most flattering picture of her ever taken.)

I arrived home yesterday morning with all my bags in tow – dumped them all and promptly sat down to knit, and knit, and knit.  It felt like a million bucks.  I’m moving forward now into weeks and weeks at home, and nothing but holiday prep and putting up a tree and regular work here at home, and once I get through today? There’s nothing but blue skies ahead. 
I’ll dive into Gifts for Knitters and lots of wool and knitting tomorrow. Today I’ve got an appointment, then the second of a shocking number of Christmas Parties, and I’d rather not discuss the state of my preparedness for either of those things, but who cares? I’m home – and I’m staying here, and it feels great. Just kick the laundry out of your way and pass me my knitting. 

67 thoughts on “And Onward

  1. How wonderful! What a generous gift you have given her (and it’s okay you kept some yarn 🙂

  2. Thanks for the warning about the elephant – I’ll be sure to stay away from it!
    Welcome home!

  3. Always love to see the penny drop and glee commence with the new knitter(s)!
    Also loved the story of Jumbo and yes I shed a tear or two but have to say emotions were tweaked by the writing style of the 1880’s journalist—they certainly knew how to write with a flourish!
    Welcome home and knit on!
    Happy Holidays and Cheers, BarbieO

  4. This only makes sense to me if she’s been your sister-in-law for less than a week. I can’t imagine a non-knitting relative in your world for any longer than that…whether they continue or not.

  5. I love her face! I remember that feeling well, when I finally cast off the weirdly-shaped space-dyed purple acrylic scarf for my 2 year old daughter. It’s such a great feeling of accomplishment. Now my daughter is 14 and I’ve taught her to knit herself, (as well as my two sons), and it’s such a great circle to complete. Someday she’ll teach someone else to knit, who will teach someone else, who will teach someone else. . .and the circle broadens and continues. Well done, Robyn! It looks great! And well done, Harlot, for teaching one more person the joy of knitting, thus extending our circle even more. 🙂

  6. Thank you for a spectacular weekend of classes, Stephanie! Congrats on making a knitter this weekend, and though even you couldn’t make me love lace, I like it a bit more now than I did 5 days ago….and, you’ll be pleased to know that my practice scarf for lever knitting is now nearly a metre long!

  7. welcome home. and great job making a new knitter. i think we can get you on the toaster oven list.

  8. I cannot *wait* for Gifts for Knitters. That was a true highlight for me last year.
    And I love Robyn’s face. That is true happiness, joy, and excitement all rolled into one. Congratulations on getting a new knitter into the cult… I mean craft.

  9. Don’t kick that laundry — I’m hunkered on it with my knitting, the heathered peach Knit in Colors baby sweater that will always remind me of when I discovered it’s possible with a hiatal hernia for both the top of the stomach AND the tail of the pancreas to come through the hiatus. Not mine, mercifully, but. Knitting. What do people in hospitals without knitting DO??

  10. Oh, well done! I haven’t made a knitter in a long time, though I did teach my husband to crochet when he was confined to hospital for several months and was bored with books, TV and cards. He turned into a far superior crocheter and works with teensy thread and eensy hooks to create lace wedding centrepieces! (Yikes) I do however, have plans to make a knitter over the Christmas holidays, and thereafter to make several as I’m hoping to be teaching a Beginner Knitters course at a local college.
    Until then, it’s knitting and more knitting, first for customers and then for family gifts. Since I also just started a new job, I suspect that I am being overly optimistic about my level of preparedness for Christmas.

  11. That’s amazing! I’ve never seen first knitting like that. You’re an awesome teacher, and Robyn’s obviously genetically programmed for knitting.

  12. What a wonderful feeling that is, to be home and know you’ll be there for a while, working on projects you both like and value. Enjoy these weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas.

  13. I haven’t made a new knitter in a long time… But, I have rekindled the passion in a few people who hadn’t knitted since childhood. Does that count???
    Merry Christmas to all and to all a good knit!!! 😉

  14. When I was helping in Handwork class at my kids Waldorf school, I was usually the one to help the fifth graders turn eir first heel. Their faces were priceless as the figured out that it actually worked!

  15. I made that face with my first FO, my first ‘good’ FO, lace, a shawl, cables, cables that cables correctly (took a bit), socks and watching my favorite piece ever- a circular shawl in handpainted Japanese silk laceweight block out and then win best of show in the county fair. Now everyone I work with makes that face when I make baby hats- something that takes an hour and I could do in my sleep. Funny how two stitches can cause such a revolution!

  16. That face is priceless!:D
    Also wear that georgeous red-orange shirt you knitt earlier this year to one of your christmas parties! The one your daughter said looked really good on you.

  17. What a joy you are! Keep kicking that laundry out of the way (mine is cleverly hidden in the basement so you have to actually go down there to trip over it). Enjoy the season as I know you will.

  18. Wow, Robyn’s really good! I’ve been knitting for years and my basketweave doesn’t look as tidy as that.
    It is so fun watching someone else get excited about knitting. Everyone should be lucky enough to have hobbies they love.

  19. I am looking forward to seeing what you knit for others this Christmas. I have found that the gifts I knitted last year overwhelmed my family and I am knitting socks, socks, and more socks I am thinking. May not make them by Christmas but you know how hopelessly over committied knitters get so we will see.

  20. Glad to hear your home and all is well in your world (at least in terms of the knitting and the laundry).
    Enjoy your holiday prep and celebration!

  21. The expression on her face is priceless. I am not going to read the elephant story.

  22. I think your sister-in-law looks very much like a young, happy, perhaps slightly surprised Julia Roberts. Just with darker hair 😉
    It IS a wonderful picture of her, because it is intimate, emotional, and authentic.
    No Photoshopped red-carpet portrait can beat that.

  23. Haha, you are not kidding about that face – I have been teaching a coworker (another Stephanie) to knit socks, and she is so excited! Every day she brings me the WIP to admire, usually another 1/2 inch or so longer than the last time. It’s great to witness that the enthusiasm is so contagious.
    Based on the all-caps comment from Emilee, above, I am definitely not reading the elephant story.

  24. Well done, Robyn! Now just imagine how great it’s going to feel when you complete your first scarf or baby blanket!!!! Then, your first sweater, afghan, sock, shawl, sofa slipcover! (Only half kidding on that last one.)

  25. Thank you for a wonderful class on Saturday – as you suggested, I have a two row striped scarf in my kntting basket to practice on. It was fastastic to meet you and I had a great time – best Christmas present I have ever gotten myself!

  26. I just have to say thank you for saying “chock full”. Another blogger I read recently said “chalk full” and I was kind of upset.

  27. I have yet to make any new knitters this year but I did save a spinner from death this year. She tried to sell me her wheel! I almost passed out. I asked her why she was not using her Ashford Traveller and she said she just could not get the hang of spinning. So I told her I would help revive her wheel.
    Now she is living in CA with her family and spinning away. It is good to save a drowning fiber artist from death! Making new knitters is like birthing a child. They are so very giddy, giggly and bouncy!

  28. Stephanie, the two classes this weekend were amazing; I learned so very much. I’m entirely enamoured of lever knitting now! It was also amazing to see your projects in person. They are gorgeous on ravelry but extra incredible and inspiring in person.
    I can’t believe that after spending all that time teaching us that you went and taught even more…wait, yes I can!
    Thanks again for coming to see us at the Mitten!

  29. The Mitten really is a one of a kind store..and we’re all so glad you made it there! Relax and enjoy your holidays!

  30. Yay Robyn!! Oh, that’s the best feeling — passing on a skill and watching your student take off and fly.
    The best part of this week has been the evenings when I can sit down and knit for a little while. All the tired just falls off and gets lost.

  31. Welcome home. Wish I could start the laundry for you. Put your feet up and knit. You deserve it.

  32. i love her face! that face is part of the reason why i love my knitting group…we all get that expression when we finish a project and share it with the group.
    it is an amazing and wonderful thing.

  33. My first comment: please can someone send me some written instructions on how to turn a sock heel? I have looked at several ways and don’t understand why some rows appear to have more st knitted than others. Thanks coral DOT mcrae AT gmail DOT com.

  34. Congratulations Steph and Robyn! That is some great first time knitting! AND, Robyn looks so happy, I remember that face! My first project (do not attempt, I am completely nuts) was a heavy aran weight fisherman sweater with ELEVEN different patterns across the front. I actually finished it and it was great!

  35. My only concern – does Robin know about your stash? Congrats on creating another knitter in the family!

  36. Now you will always know what to give Robyn as a gift, maybe… Will she like this yarn or that yarn. Oh, that nice needle set or the bag for her knitting, or that neat book…

  37. Thank you for being a teacher who does knit and purl at the same time. I’m so aggravated by folks who teach knit only at first leaving a trail of defective purl-hating knitters in their wake.

  38. Hooray for new knitters. I have two of them waiting in the wings, one a crafter and one a gardener who want to get into “that Zen thing you do” with yarn and needles.

  39. Talked out of making a sweater for the hubby for Christmas??? Fat chance, she’s going to dive into it like a little kid like splashing in the bathtub,pouring milk on the kitchen floor and running at breakneck speed down the church aisles. Yes, she’ll attempt it, may not work, but she will try even she’s exhausted at 4 p.m. Christmas Eve.

  40. Ah, I was wondering if that was the same Jumbo that was at Tufts College (one of their most prized possessions). Robyn looks vey much like my daughter did when she first learned to knit. And she learned just that fast. So did one of her sons. Unfortunately, my daughter is too busy to knit & my grandson loves to knit when I am there with him but it only lasts for a few minutes until the novelty wears off & then he’s off to his Legos.

  41. Congrats on being home for the holidays. I am soo looking forward to Christmas break so the I can knit, cook, and eat my way through a 2 week break. Maybe I should add some exercies in there somewhere. Is knitting exercise? I think so, if it’s not please don’t inform me.

  42. Hi,
    I would love to read a post about teaching people to knit. I have been googling and reading about teaching, and the suggestions are mixed about whether to teach the purl at the same time as the knit or not. I see you left your new knitter with both skills. Was that confusing for her?
    The friend I would like to teach lives far away, and I only see her every few months. I was thinking I should have her both knitting and purling, but I don’t want to overwhelm her.

  43. No. I don’t believe you. That woman has knitted before. There is NO WAY a new knitter could make something without any holes in it, or weird slanting thing going on. If her first knitted thing looks like that, what hope can there possibly be for me and my loved ones? *sob*
    But seriously, she is just lovely. Congratulations!

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