I've known N. since university - which was a long, long time ago.
Her son was born in 1997. I was just getting serious as a knitter at that point, and I was starting to experiment with design. I started a habit that has continued to this day: I used to buy very plain and basic garment patterns and personalize them with my own touches. When N's son was born, I was going through a colourwork phase.
N and I had lunch last week, and she proudly showed me one of the sweaters I knitted for her son. We borrowed a baby to model it. (That's one of the many great thing about yarn shops, there are often babies around.)
The sweater isn't bad, either.
It remember the yarn - it's a DK superwash wool. The left sleeve is purple with spots to match the right front, and the back is worked in four quadrants, one in each of the four colors of the sweater. I, naturally, inspected the work. The knitting is pretty good, but my seaming has improved greatly since then.
I love that N. has kept the sweater all this time. It's nice to see how my work has evolved.
I don't have many of my early pieces; I'm a bit of a perfectionist, and I judged my own work harshly. I knew that it wasn't good, and I just didn't keep it. I wish I had - it's gratifying to see my own progress. And, frankly, I'd like to be able to show off my first few pairs of socks to reassure new sock knitters that everyone has to start someone.
I've been silent for a while; as I mentioned, I've been on the road. I had an amazing trip to Vancouver for the first KnitCity event. It was a roaring success, and I'm confident that Amanda and Fiona will be hosting the event for many years in the future.
The opening presentation of the event was given by Sylvia Olsen, on her work to preserve the Cowichan sweater traditions among the native communities in B.C. An amazing story, and she showed some fabulous work.
I was honoured to be asked to teach, and I met so many amazing people. So many great new friends and students.
It was great to meet the amazing Kim Werker. We've been internet friends for a while, and she was even funnier and more wonderful in person. We had a great discussion about teaching, and apparently I've inspired her to reconsider teaching crochet...
I also reconnected with Ellie Karas, a student of mine from my early teaching days at the Naked Sheep in Toronto. Ellie now runs a knitting shop and events company in Tofino, B.C., Knits By the Sea.
I love Vancouver. They understand me there.
One of my students - clearly a regular reader of my blog and my tweets, brought me a coffee to class. You know who you are: and THANK YOU! Although I don't encourage bribery, a strong americano never goes amiss.
Possibly the greatest thing about the event, however, was the coat check. A local troupe of Girl Guides provided the coat check service, and the deal was that it was free if you bought a box of cookies.
How could you say no?
In sadder news, my good friend and mentor Michael O'Connor Clarke recently lost his battle with cancer. My heart goes out to his family and friends. I've written about this before... Michael was a key part of my decision to change my career, and he was very present in my life as I was starting out my serious knitting adventures. I knitted a sweater for the birth of his youngest son, Ruairi. (It was red, with cables.) I remember that it was when I was working for Michael that I actually started wearing some of my handknits to work. And it was Michael who eventually told me to get the heck of out the tech industry. I will forever be grateful to him for his support and encouragement.
Oct 13 & 14 I'm teaching at the inaugural KnitCity event in Vancouver. Classes for that are Top Down Socks 101, Intro to Colorwork, The War & Peace 2-in-1 Socks, and a class on Working in the round: DPNs, Magic Loop & 2 Circulars.