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.