How it started/How it’s going

Time continues to pass in the strangest way – we’re still under lockdown here, with stay-at-home orders in place, and I’m trudging along. Some days fly by and I can’t believe that I ran out of time to accomplish all that I wanted, and some days are like yesterday, where after a long, difficult and full day, I stood up and headed to the kitchen to begin dinner, and suddenly realized it was still light out. I was stunned to discover that it was just a little after noon.

Anyway, this is all a long way of saying that I have no idea how it is that it’s been months that I’ve been meaning to post about Pato and Keanu’s wedding blanket, but here I am. I’d feel worse about it but honestly, I’m pretty sure a lot of you don’t know what day it is, so there.

Way back at end of the summer, when case numbers were so low and Torontonians were allowed to have close contact with a few other people outside their household, Pato dropped the bomb that he and Keanu had decided to marry. Now, this wasn’t shocking at all, after Sam got married we were all pretty sure that they would be next – they’ve been together for years and years and it seemed to still be going well, and if you love someone more than ever after months of being locked down together than honestly you should marry them. What was surprising was that they’d decide to marry in just a few weeks, in the middle of a pandemic, which makes tons of sense if you are confident in your love (and the length of a pandemic) but not so much if you’ve got to knit a wedding something.

We immediately started trying to figure out ways to make it special, even though there were going to be so many restrictions – the gift was the first thing to think about, and Meg and I hatched a plan that afternoon, and ordered the yarn that minute so that we could give finishing by their wedding day a shot. (Spoiler alert we didn’t make it of course.) We decided that we- the whole family would knit Pato and Keanu a blanket.  After much discussion – what would be easy enough for people to help with, what would disguise changing gauges and what would be a good fit for their style, we settled on the Moderne Log Cabin Blanket, (that’s a Ravelry link) knit in neutral shades of Eco wool.  (The pattern isn’t written for that weight of wool but it’s squares. What could go wrong. I’d knit it before so I felt good about our chances.)

Now, the way this blanket works is that it’s a series of squares and rectangles worked off of each other. You knit a squarish bit, and then pick up stitches along the side of it and knit another, and so on and so forth. After a little consultation (and with the knowledge that it would be easier for me to match my gauge to Meg’s than the other way around) we decided that Meg would knit the first square, then give it to me. I’d pass it off to everyone in turn, knitting wildly on it in between, correcting errors and guiding anyone involved who didn’t know what they were doing. Now, I don’t know how this happened, but Meg is the only person I didn’t get a picture of while they were knitting – she beavered away at it, knitting the whole first square, and then gave it to me. This, I will tell you, wasn’t just smart, it was fitting. Our relationship with Pato began with Meg- they met as little snips of things –

and truly have proved to be one of the worlds great matches, just not a romantic one in the end. They’ve stayed the very, very best of friends, and our family didn’t break up with Pato either. From the time they became friends until this day, we’ve just lumped him into the pile of “our kids” and gotten on with it. It was so appropriate that since Meg started our relationship with him, that she should start the blanket. It was passed off to me, and time since time was short I did a crazy amount of knitting while Joe and I were camping.

The whole time we were camping though, I remember thinking “this looks a little big” and then executing the classic knitter error – which is thinking “Never mind, if I keep knitting maybe it will get smaller” which it never does. It was the only thing I’d taken with me to knit for the weekend (to force me knitting on it) and so I was reluctant to face the truth. Once home, pattern in hand I realized my error.  I ripped it out, handed it back to Meg, she re-knit the first square the proper size and we were off again. (For the sake of Meg’s reputation as a knitter, I will make it clear that the error was mine, and not hers. The only mistake she made was doing what her mother told her and that’s never really wrong.)

Back in my hot little hands, I started making the rounds with it.  Getting it to some people who care for the gentlemen was going to be easy – we had a family bubble at the time, but I had to find a way to get it to everyone else in a way that was distanced, and outside, of course.

The worlds top knitwear model put in her stitches for her brother from another mother – I wasn’t surprised she remembered how to knit – the force is strong with this one. She’s picked up the needles a few times over the years, and the knitting was easy for her.

What did surprise me was that Amanda was flawless. Of all my children she is the most knit-resistant and always has been. She knows how, of course, I mean what sort of mother allows a child to grow up without the most basic of skills, but I don’t think she’s knit anything since she was a child, so when she knocked off her rows with effortless ease, I was really kinda stunned. (This is evidence for teaching them young. It stays with them forever whether they want it to or not.)

Meg’s husband Alex needed teaching – he was a quick study though – as was Sam’s husband Mike. they both picked it up in a snap, and were absolutely chuffed with themselves that they managed it. (Without a word of a lie, they were so thrilled. Several rows from both of them!)

From there- onto the knitters. Jen swung by when she was off call and installed herself in the backyard. I plied her with wine and she knit heaps. We told Pato and Keanu stories.

Amber, longtime friend of the show – I thought I’d have to teach her, but she revealed a secret – she’s a perfectly competent knitter. (This being Canada, you’d be surprised how prevalent a secret power this is.) She ripped by the back garden,  working the stitches with so much affection for her friends.

Maddy! If you’ve been reading this blog a long time, then you might even remember when Maddy learned to knit. Meg and I taught her when she was quite little. Meg, Maddy and Pato have run as a pack since the beginning of High School, and Mads is quite a good knitter now – she doesn’t have a car and the covid-times means she couldn’t subway to me, so I went to her.  It is a pleasure to see these kids grown up and still all caring for each other.  (As an aside, Maddy had so many sleep-overs at our house over the years, that we began to call the trundle bed in the back bedroom “the Maddy bed”. We still do – enough so that even though he has no idea why – Elliot will ask if he can lie on the Maddy bed.)

Cameron knit his bit – putting a little fondness in each stitch for him and Keanu. Bike Rally connection for them – lots of thoughts of Team Knit (and the few times that Keanu joined us on the Rally – so not his jam let me tell you) but Pato and Cam love riding together and I’m pretty glad I taught Cam to knit years ago – it would have been hard to show him how from a distance.

The big challenge for Ken was that his turn came a week or two later, when it was cold. He’s was outside our bubble (by then, things had changed – everyone was) so he bundled up and got it done. (Please note he is wearing a dorky onsie both because it is freezing, and because it was Hallowe’en and he was dressed as a shark to amuse Elliot.) Pato knows how much Ken loves the cold, so feel the love, buddy.

Last – Joe did his share. I won’t lie- he grumbled a bit, but he knows how, and he loves Pato a lot, and so Pato and Keanu became the third and fourth people in the world that Joe has knit for. Me and my mum are numbers one and two, so it’s a pretty elite club.

Somewhere in there – when the blanket was almost done, but not quite, the big day came. Pato and Keanu were married outside, at a beautiful albeit socially distanced wedding with just a few people in attendance, and the rest of us watched on Zoom. Meg was in person-  standing up for Pato (with more than two metres between them at all times) and I was proud of both of them for learning love in all its forms so very well.

It was a beautiful wedding and I none of the things I thought might happen did – they didn’t feel alone, or like enough people weren’t there, or like people were missing.  I know that they would have liked us all to be there (I think) but in the end this is love, and it is the same as it always is. On their wedding day, the only people Pato and Keanu really needed close by were each other, and we could all see (even over zoom) that it was more than enough.

Naturally, and us being us, we couldn’t leave it there. A mission was launched to give them the closest thing to a reception possible.  Our back garden was transformed with twinkle lights and candles, tables and flowers.

We used measuring tapes to make sure that Pato and Keanu were more than safely distanced from us at a tiny “head table”  we made sure that we had no more than the provinces allowed number of people for outdoor gatherings. (At that time, things were so much more open than they are now, we were allowed ten!)

We set the table with care using our best dishes. We chose a four course menu to please them – we cut the date of their wedding into sourdough and baked it.

We baked a tiny little wedding cake for them,  and little single serving ones for everyone else.

And they got their musical surprise, the same as every other family wedding – this time, over the internet from a family friend who’s an artist Pato adores and (obviously) couldn’t come and play for them.

We did our best to have a proper party – pandemic style. Tiny and distanced (and freezing!) with no hugging and lots of kisses blown from afar. At the time we felt a little deprived, but looking back what a luxury it was to be able to be together even that way.

I have a list of things that I feel this pandemic has stolen from our family, as I’m sure you do too.  The ability to be with each other in times of need, to hold and comfort each other, to walk holding hands, or the ease with which we were able to make connections with each other, and how simple it was to invest in our relationships. Know I add this to the list now – that even though we did our best, and I think it was good enough, and I know Pato and Keanu felt our love and support that day – I will always regret that in that in the moment they were married, they could not look out at the crowd of us, as we were looking at them, and see the complete love, acceptance, pride and happiness we all felt as they committed to each other.

I think they love their blanket, and I hope that when they use it, they can remember what knitting really is. It’s more than a way to make something- it is a love container, and we have all poured what we hope for you into it.

Much love in a long and an happy marriage. Stay warm.

Stephanie, Joe, Ken, Amanda, Megan, Sam, Mike, Alex, Cameron, Maddy, Amber and Jen.

132 thoughts on “How it started/How it’s going

  1. And what kind of wedding present would a knit object that had never been ripped back be? Perfect execution would set unhealthy goals. Congratulations, guys — how lucky to be surrounded by so much love.

    • I adore this thought for life and the relationships we build through it is just like knitting. It’s about making things work, backing up and reassessing where you are and how you get to where you want to be. Sometimes that means frogging a bit to realign where you’re headed. I hope they remember that as they continue to build their life.

  2. Congratulations to Pato and Keanu! (And I confess, I often forget Pato is not actually born into that tribe of yours as he landed there so perfectly.) The blanket is absolutely stunning, perfect for holding the love that went into it.

    • I’m so glad I’m not the only one who thought that.

      Steph this is such a beautiful and touching outpouring of love. Best wishes to them.

  3. Oh, how beautiful! Congratulations to the newlyweds – I wish you all the happiness in the world, and wish you all the love that you have for each other, and that your families have for you be multiplied several times over.

  4. Best wishes to Pato and Keanu for oh so very many years together, through thick and thin.
    What a wonderful gift you have given them, not only in your blanket, but in folding them into your family as well.

  5. Much happiness is wished for Pato and Keanu! All the love in that blanket will warm them always. What a wonderful family to help their wedding be so special.

  6. It sounds like Pato & Keanu didn’t get the wedding they might have planned in different times, but they got the gift of family who’ll drop everything to celebrate them the best way they can xx

  7. Such a wonderful story! I loved reading how your family and friends worked together to make Pato and Keanu’s wedding special even in these Covid times.

    Congratulations Pato and Keanu! I wish you every happiness!

  8. What an amazing story of love from all of you to Pato and Keanu. I’m tearing up that these two men are so cherished. I hope our world gets better soon in all the ways it needs to and that everyone can have the acceptance and love they crave and deserve. And oh yeah, the blanket is stunning and I already have plans to copy your version.

  9. I’m a bit emotionally unstable with the Inauguration so, sitting here all teary. Such a lovely story full of the things we all miss and cherish. Such a gift of love you all gave Pato and Keanu. Thank you so much for sharing it. ❤️

  10. How great is it to see love and knitting and family all together after 10 long months of isolation. Your family gives me hope for the future.

    A beautiful blanket, a lovely young couple. A celebration, however constrained. I am in tears.

    Thank you.

  11. What a lovely way to celebrate a wedding. All the best to Pato and Keanu for a long and happy (and healthy) life together! The pandemic is making us all rethink the old ways of doing things, and be grateful for our families and friends.

  12. Congratulations on your wedding blanket! The love that went into knitting it will be felt always. Such a wonderful idea. I knit baby blankets for my daughter’s children years before they were born so her grandparents, aunts and uncles could knit on them.

    Congratulations on your marriage, Pato and Keanu!! Best wishes for many happy years ahead!

  13. Perhaps Pato and Keanu can have a reception when this pandemic ends. My daughter’s wedding was to be last August. Then with this virus going around they decided to postpone to this summer (2021). After a serious medical diagnosis just as Covid was starting they got married in a small outdoor ceremony this past July. There were 11 people in attendance and many others on zoom. All is well now. Surgery was successful. Medical visits every 6 months but prognosis is good. Her wedding dress (not worn) is still in a closet. We hope to have a reception on their one year anniversary.

  14. Happiest loving congratulations to Pato and Keanu! May you live long and prosper.

    You and your family, blood and chosen, are extraordinary in your kindness and love and absolute devotion to each other and to your wider care for others in this world. Thank you for sharing these special times. xox

  15. Weeping a bit. Such a lovely story. My knitting group made that blanket for our fearless leader. I love it. Many good wishes for Pato and Keanu.

  16. I won’t pretend I read the comments above, I know they are all lovely and wonderful.
    And I love this whole thing and, having knit several variations of the “modern log cabin” blanket, I love that it’s what you chose! Love the neutrals, love the knitters, love the party, breaking the ❤️❤️❤️ Button over here!
    Thanks for sharing the story. I miss hearing from you, like I miss Strung Along and my knitting friends.

  17. It all looks perfect. Love was given to them to celebrate their love. The pandemic brings out new ways to share special occasions. You all did great. Such a sweet story. Congratulations to Pato and Keanu,. Wishing you a long and happy life together

  18. A beautiful blanket and such a wonderful story of love and community. Thank you for sharing and making me tear up with joy and hope.

  19. Dang! Now I know I even cry at *pictures* of weddings of people I don’t even know! Congratulations Pato and Keanu! Much happiness and health for you forever!

  20. After I finished reading, my thought was, and I quote – such a beautiful story! only to find those exact words written in the first comment. Thank you for sharing this with us, and for modeling a kind of love, acceptance and generosity that I wish were more common. I will do my best to pass it on. Sending love and best wishes to the happy couple!

  21. Gentlemen: Congratulations! Best wishes for a long and happy marriage!

    Stephanie: I’m a little surprised you didn’t get Elliot to knit a stitch or three — or did he?

  22. What a delightful tale of love in so many forms. Wishing them much happiness and many years to enjoy it. I think that blanket probably qualifies as a sort of group hug right now. One day, the other kind will also be shared among you all.

  23. What a beautiful story! Personally I think small weddings are the best so it looked perfect to me. Congratulations Gentlemen and best wishes for a loving life. I love the blanket that everyone knitted.

  24. Thank you for sharing the story, and many congratulations to Pato and Keanu! The blanket looks perfect, as does the beautiful reception.

  25. All the happiness in the world to Pato & Keanu! Have been around here since Pato & Meg were sweeties and it’s been a joy to see the McPhee Pack grow and welcome spouses into the fold. Much love to all of you for doing them proud, too.

  26. Congratulations to Pato and Keanu. They are now an official part of a fantastic extended family. The blanket looks gorgeous and everyone, including the two puppies, will enjoy it. All the best to them. Hope everyone is doing well in these frustrating times. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  27. I am sitting here and crying, reading your post. You have such a way with words, they always tug at my heart. What a lovely, close-knit (pun intended) family you all are. And what a lovely time we live in (barring the darned pandemic, of course), that two men can express their love freely and openly. So happy for all of you.

  28. Sending love and good wishes for a wonderful life together. May Pato & Keanu always be surrounded by love. Thank you for sharing. Pandemic, or no pandemic, life and love go on. Celebrate!

  29. Congratulations to Pato and Keanu – and to all of you for finishing such a beautiful blanket in a lovely way.

    Twenty-five years from now, and 50, these young folks will have their stories and I think, no regrets. My daughter and her young man were married in our back yard this summer. It was long-planned, they were on the verge of a big move, and the big wedding they’d planned wasn’t going to happen. But their smaller wedding was a jewel. This was too.

  30. Congratulations Pato and Keanu,
    It may not have been big, but from the look of it the love is, the love for each other shines through as does the love of your family, related or not. Best wishes for a long loving marriage xx

  31. Huge congratulations to Pato and Keanu! May your lives together be a source of love, joy, and strength.

    It might have had to be pandemic style, but what a loving, special day.

  32. Ooh boy, now I’m crying at work 🙂
    This was so beautiful, with so much love and such a beautiful community. Your chosen family is a beautiful example. <3

  33. My son and his beloved were also married during this pandemic and although there were friends present at a safe distance, our loving family watched together via Zoom. But love is such a powerful thing and it can be felt over great distances and in such difficult circumstances.Thank you for sharing this wonderful event in your family and filling my heart with warmth and sweetness in mid winter.
    p.s. Nice blanket!

  34. What an absolutely wonderful story and such a special gift. This year has been tough, emotions run close to the surface, family, hugs, handholding kept from us. My tears shared with others. Thank you for sharing.

  35. What a lovely multigenerational story! I must admit, I still think of so many of your kids as kids, and it’s very heartwarming to see them hitting major life milestones! Congratulations to the happy couple!

  36. oh I’m weepy!! Such an awesome story with heartfelt effort. I have a feeling that the blanket, the reception and the wedding are going to be that much more meaningful to them because they will know and remember always just how much effort had to go into every tiny detail during a pandemic!! So special.

  37. Stephanie, this story brought tears to my eyes. Pato and Keanu will always remember their wedding day as extra special because of the love you poured into it.

  38. Beautiful…the blanket and all who knitted it, the lovely couple, the photos of the ceremony and reception…and your writing bringing it all together.
    Maybe you should be a writer!
    Margaret from Port Ludlow

  39. Everything about this is so special..it could be a children’s book about the community blanket and a wedding that happened despite the unusual circumstances.

  40. Dammit, you made me cry again! I love your description of what knitting means – “a love container”. That’s perfect.

    And even though I hate picking up stitches, I’m so tempted to make that blanket!

  41. Lovely. Just lovely. I am moved to tears as I add my congratulations to Pato and Keanu. And the love story doesn’t stop with them but encompasses your entire family. Lovely.
    On a knitting note I try to explain to hubby why we knitters keep knitting a project incorrectly but I bet he will get “Never mind, if I keep knitting maybe it will get smaller”!!
    Thank you, Yarnharlot, for writing of joy in a year of sadness.

  42. I simply cannot express how much I love this. So much of the past year has felt crushing and yet – yet – we go on. The special moments like weddings, babies, graduations, new jobs; and the ordinary ones of baking bread, vacuuming, fetching groceries have filled the days with hope and promise and joy. Thank you for sharing this beautiful, wonderful moment with us.

  43. What an uplifting love story!! Thank you for sharing. The shared knitting on the blanket makes a perfect gift to celebrate the love of family. Families come in many shapes and sizes and your family definitely knows that. One day (hopefully soon!) this pandemic will be under control and we can kiss “socially distanced” goodbye. Until then, knit on!!

  44. Somehow, I think Pato and Keanu, despite not having a crowd of people to physically surround them, still felt surrounded by love. No wedding is perfect, and I learned long ago that the wedding and the marriage are 2 separate things. I wish them the happiest of marriages, and they will have a doozy of a story to tell about being married during a pandemic.

  45. How very beautiful! Wishing for all the best for Pato and Keanu.The love that your family (blood and non-blood) has shown them for their day is heartwarming. We need more of this. Thank you for sharing this with us. – another Stephanie in Raleigh, NC

  46. What a beautiful story & blanket!! I love the way your family loves & have so enjoyed seeing Pato pop up on the blog over the years!
    I wish them many years of love & happiness.
    Thank you for sharing!

  47. They are so lucky to have all of you and their wedding sounds strange but perfect! They’ll have a very special story to tell for the rest of their lives. Oh, and one more thing – is there a pattern for that gorgeous shawl that Jen is wearing?

  48. What a gorgeous blanket and wonderful, loving story. As a long-time reader of your blog Pato has always seemed part of the family. Thrilled for you all to have had a day of such joy and wishing them both every happiness.

  49. That is so beautiful that I’m crying. Thank you for sharing that with us. All the best to Pato and Keanu with wishes of a long lifetime of love and happiness.

    Thanks for articulating the love Stephanie. It reminds me that while we are all still so distant physically, the love and connections remain strong.

  50. Just beautiful. All of it. Your love & how you share it with so much care & thought is so beautiful. A beautiful wedding & gift. Congratulations to the happy couple ❤️

  51. Congratulations!
    Beautiful wedding, beautiful blanket.
    Great to see all the contributor photos.
    Thanks for another lovely blog post.

  52. Can’t imagine why my reply the other day evaporated into the ether. Thanks for sharing this lovely news with us, Steph. Much happiness to Pato and Keanu.

  53. This is so lovely! I’m sure it’s not the wedding either of them imagined, but, it’s their love for each other that is important, not a big wedding. The blanket is fab by the way, I love that it’s a group effort.

  54. Oh! I’m sobbing! But it’s good….A happy ever after moment in the Midst of all this muck and mire!
    The very best of every day together Keanu and Pato! You have been blessed by knitters and begrudging knitters-you’ve got so many good vibes stitched in that blanket, you won’t run out…even measured in human years. Love how the cute pups slyly snuggled in there-they felt the love too.
    Steph- sorry knitnesia hit you on this pattern again.
    It is so lovely regardless of what size you decide to knit it in.

  55. This post gave me hope and made me feel warm and connected. Thank you for modeling knitting as a container of love. It’s something I teach every time someone comes to me to learn about the mechanics of knitting.

  56. Congratulations to the Happy Couple!
    They are as snug as bugs under that rug.
    There have been great memories made by you all.
    There will be Lots to talk about, and reminisce, in the happy years to come.

  57. Oh, the beauty. I’m so sorry they couldn’t have a huge crowd of people loving their union in person, but at least they can look at this and know that a huge crowd of semi-strangers think they and their love is perfect.

  58. Thank you for such a lovely story of something positive and wonderful that happened last year. Best wishes to the newlyweds and all those that love them.

  59. Many happy returns of the day, Pato and Keanu! May you have a long and loving life together.

    That blanket is full of love and joy, and reading its story made me happy. Peace and light to you, Stephanie!

  60. Congratulations to Keanu and Pato! The blanket is stunning and I m sure they will feel the love that went into it.
    This piece of writing is beautiful, Steph. A great celebration of love . X

  61. Congratulations to Pato and Keanu! Such a heartwarming story in this difficult year. I love that you treat friends like family and make people feel special and celebrated.

  62. This is so beautifully written.

    Congrats to the happy couple! I hope that their first anniversary has a knock out of party, with everyone gathering and hugging.

    🙂
    Lora

  63. Well here’s a wonder:
    You made me cry at a wedding by Zoom that I didn’t even attend!
    That was beautiful.
    I wish them a long and love-filled life together.

  64. You and the happy couple have put a smile on my face, where there hasn’t been one in a long while. Congratulations and thank you (and them) for sharing. You have gained a son and another muggle to convert if Pato hasn’t already.

  65. I love you and your entire family in all its glorious weirdness and kindness. To say this has been a weird year doesn’t even touch on how much loss and sadness and yes, moments of sunlit joy, we’ve experienced. Goddess willing, we will come through this stronger and wiser, and cherishing those sunlit moments that gave us the will to keep going.

  66. A bit late in adding a comment, but just want to say thank you for sharing this beautiful story of love. Not only the love of Pato and Keanu, but of your family and friends who surrounded them with so much love and made their day very special despite Covid and all the restrictions it has put on everyone. Congratulations to them on their marriage!

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