Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Anonymous Fan Mail

Good evening!  So...I've been knitting like a fiend lately.  Really, that just means I have NOT been doing any work that's more necessary, but whatever.  I have also been writing my column quite a bit, which I find totally fulfilling even if I don't make money at it.

Here is the article from's about losing a parent and finding solace in selling her late mother's yarn:

And then later in the day, here is the letter I received from a reader (with her name edited out):

Hi Amy,
Just wanted you to know how your article about your friend and her mother’s yarn touched me. I know the feeling well, also being an only child. My mom died a couple of years after my dad, but it was still hard. She left an afghan unfinished that she was knitting for my granddaughter (her great). I would tear up every time I tried to complete it, until I finally put it back in her knitting bag. Maybe someday I will finish it for my great?! She had a lot of yarn too, but it was mostly acrylic stuff and that’s why I became involved in Project Linus, to use it up and give it away to folks who would make blankets for kids. 
BTW, your article about Clara Parkes was great also. Best, (Someone Who Shall Remain Nameless)
I know it may seem nuts to those of you who haven't had to deal with it, but we in the One Parent Club like to share stories with each other, mostly because we feel we are the only ones who understand what it could possibly feel like to lose a parent.  We all hear it...standing at our mom's or dad's funeral, eating our little hors d'oeuvres, and someone will come up to us and say, "I can't even imagine what you're feeling."  No, you can't.  And that's okay...just be there for me and don't bother trying to relate.  All we need is love and support...not empathy.  We'll tell you how we feel, and you just accept it as fact.  Capiche?, I asked Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton if she would like me to review her yarn for my column.  She was all for it...usually, people who are (and should be) confident in their products will ship you either a free copy of a book or sample of their yarn and say, "Have at it and thank you!"  A few days later, I get this envelope from Georgia at my front door.  I open it and inside is a bundle with three hanks of yarn:  100% wool handpainted, 100% silk worsted, and 100% silk fingering.  After cleaning up the wet mess I must have caused on the floor, I think I started to dance.
Oh.  Emm.  Gee.
So I dropped the hat and mitt set I was making for Renee and her booth at Vogue Live, the socks I'm designing to make Sam Boice and her yarn company famous, the Deborah Newton sweater...all of it.  Yep.  Dropped like a hot potato.  In favor of casting on the silk fingering.
If I'm going to review 100% silk fingering weight yarn, I'm not going to make a gauge swatch.  I'm going to make a shawl.  After all, I have to block it to give it a thorough review, right?

I'm not a pastel girl, I'm not a lace girl (well, I love KNITTING lace but I don't WEAR lace very often), and I'm certainly not a silk girl.  But DAMN I was done when I saw this yarn.

I have also been knitting the Malabrigo Rios to make something with Renee's handspun art yarn...the pattern below is for a hat using Renee's yarn as brim trim:

 Perhaps I should start doing something that will cause me to not lose my house.  I don't know, though...if the choice was lose my house or lose my sanity, I would choose house any day of the week.  And right now, well, knitting is keeping me sane and grounding me through all of the crap.

Back to the beginning, though...that bit of "fan mail" (she was really a fan of Joni's story, not my writing) made me feel like even though I joke about making my dozens of readers happy, sometimes I encounter one.  And it no longer matters if there are dozens or hundreds or thousands or even three.  One is enough.  If one person is touched, it's enough.

It's tough...very tough...getting through the loss of a parent.  And if I have a part in the "every little bit helps" piece, then suddenly, I have purpose.  Poof.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Oh...Hi Again

Good morning...or days blend together after a while.

I'm thisclose to getting out of my pajamas after sleeping for eleven hours, writing two articles for my column (here is the one from today...the other one gets published tomorrow..., and planning out my afternoon.  Doesn't sound very exciting until you think about the fact that I finally, finally have more time on my hands.

See, I got divorced.  And my ex husband moved out a week ago.  And I spent the week after that cleaning up the crap-storm in my house.  Now I feel like this is MY space, and MY time, and I can successfully move on.  I'm not exactly looking for a date but I was looking for the chance to be in my house, at peace with everything, and not feel like I am distracted with my life.  I think I'm there.

Today, I'm going to start a design with a deadline.  Not my favorite way to knit, but when Renee Jones of the Carolina Fiber Company tells you, "I want to feature your designs in my booth at Vogue Knitting Live," you grab a ball of HER yarn and design something with it.  Vogue Knitting Live is the first weekend of November.  I had best get cracking, no?

If heaven forbid any of you reading this don't knit, the equivalent for non-knitters would be an up-and-coming band being asked to play a set at Lollapalooza.  Who knows?  Maybe Debbie Bliss will walk by one of my scarves and say, "I need this girl to design with my yarns.  Do you have her business card?"

So yeah...I'm a bit out of my mind.  And flattered beyond recognition.  But I would rather promote her yarns in return, and I have an idea for a hat and mitt set that I think would be cute.  Here's to hoping it works on the first try so I can succeed in taking this sucker down to the wire.

Other than that, I was going to try and finish my Debra Newton Vogue Knitting 30th Anniversary sweater before VKLive, but I'm not sure I'm that awesome.  Or that I have that much time.  But we'll see.  I also have the socks I'm designing in the hopes of making Sam Boice, owner of The Wool Dispensary, famous, and the baby blanket I'm knitting in my car.  Basically, I have four projects on needles and I figure to finish them all at the same time.  Which is would save me several trips to the inbox or FedEx office...I could do them all at once.  And then crash and burn, no question.  I'm certain I'll need a nap by November 4th if I finish all I want to finish by then.

My column, it should be noted, is moving in a new direction.  I am now setting up an email list for all of the Chicago-area local yarn shops so I can ask them about trends in their stores, with both their customers and vendors, all at once.  Stay tuned for a much more worldly, but still Chicago-based, knitting column.  One thing I did tell all of the shop owners, though, is that I'm not in this for the money.  I just want to promote knitting and yarning and other yummies like that.  In turn, if you ever want to share my stuff, I hope you know you're more than welcome.  The only exception to that is the patterns you may purchase...please do the right thing and do NOT share those.  Thanks!

Okay...time to get off of my bum, buy some appliances, and go knitting.  Because I can't do that enough this month.  The knitting...not the buying appliances.