Our Knit-Along group had their final class last night and they’ve made so much progress. I’m incredibly proud of this troop of new sweater knitters. They’ve stretched themselves to try something unfamiliar, learn fresh techniques and expand their toolkit. But this has been a struggle for some.
I’ve heard people worry about being short a stitch, that they aren’t getting the length right, that their stitches are uneven. If you watched my Instagram Live video this week, you saw me admit to making mistakes myself. (I failed to follow my own pattern.)
So I’m here to remind you of something:
IT’S OK IF IT’S NOT PERFECT.
I usually like to write something humorous and encouraging here, but not this week.
Today I’d like to tell you about two women I love very much.
This first is my sister-in-law, Mary Jo. We lost my brother’s wife, MJ, to cancer in 2015. She carried the BRCA mutation and spent most of 20 years fighting breast and ovarian cancer. She bred English Bulldogs, rode horses, was a practicing dog behaviorist, played multiple instruments, had fiery red hair that could only be tamed with copious amounts of hairspray and was an absolute badass. MJ was one of the strongest, bravest, most direct women I ever knew. She got her first bulldog for security, because she wanted a dog that lookedlike it would take your leg off but wouldn’t. I pity the person who ever tested that theory, because they had way more to fear from M herself than her dogs. But she also taught me that you never work with a dog with anything but love in your hands, even when you are correcting them. She was a bright, smart, funny woman, whom my brother loved deeply, and we still miss.
Ok, not really. I mean, kind of…never mind. That’s not what this is about.
But I did PLAY Unstable Unicorns. Tabletop gaming isn’t really my thing, but I was with a group who love it, so I was willing. If you’ve never seen this game, the idea is to build a “stable” of 7 unicorns to win. Some have magical powers, some are hipsters, some are puppicorns or narwhals. It’s worth the Google, because the whole thing is pretty adorable.
But here’s the thing: it was my first time playing, and I got *thisclose* to winning. Why?
Because I was knitting, and no one thought I was focused on the game.
We’ve all been there. On a conference call; in a meeting; during jury duty, and we’re happily knitting away, participating in the conversation, but the non-knitters in the room assume we aren’t paying attention (there’s usually a snarky comment involved). And WE know that’s not true.
I’ve decided to take a day off.
In fact, I’m taking a couple of them. I’ve been reminded recently of the importance of self-care.
I wrote in the past about the selflessness of knitters and the concept of “selfish knitting.” I think the same compulsion that leads us to knit endless sweaters, baby blankets and winter hats for our loved ones also leads us to give of ourselves in other ways: we give our time, our love, our energy. But those things don’t come from no-where. To paraphrase Eleanor Brown, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
It hit me the other day how quickly summer has gone by. July came and went. August rushed up behind me and shoved me in the back. For many of us here in Central New York, the New York State Fair is our signal that summer is coming to a close, and I didn’t realize the Fair starts in a few days until a friend was talking about getting a booth set up there. In my former life as a higher ed professional we would count down the days in our weekly orientation meetings to new student move-in. (Three days if you’re counting.)
This year autumn is around the corner and I don’t know about you, but I’m a little shocked by that. If you’re anything like me, in April you had a thousand things you wanted to get done this summer. And if you’re like me, you just realized September is almost here and you got maybe a tenth of them done.
A few weeks ago, friend of the shop Edwina was heartbroken over the detainment of children at the border. Someone said to her with a shrug "well, what are you gonna do about it?"
Lesson: never challenge a maker.
Edwina decided she would do what she could. She would use her heart and her hands to do something for immigrant children in Texas, and children in need here in Syracuse.
On Sunday, she and nearly 20 other makers took over KGY to start sewing stuffed teddy bears for children coming out of detention centers in Texas. In about 5 hours, they created nearly 100 of these adorable little stuffies, each with a message attached.
This is Syracuse...
If we aren't complaining about the snow, we're whining about the heat.
But this time it's for real. This summer we're facing record breaking temperatures and clinging humidity. If you don't have air conditioning, you may be in trouble. And many of or friends and neighbors don't have or can't afford A/C to save them from these temps. We are not acclimatized to this.
Please check in on your friends and neighbors, especially those that may need more assistance in a crisis.
If it's getting a little too hot in your own house, come down to KGY. Hang out. Knit. Or don't. If you've seen the videos of Knit Night, you know we have lots of comfortable seating and I have a fridge full of cold water I'm happy to share. You don't even need to buy anything, I just want everyone to stay safe this summer. If you'd like to bring a snack to share, we're happy to have that too.
In other news, the anniversary party is over, but there's still lots of stuff on sale. We're about to start sharing some sneak peeks at the awesome stuff coming in for fall, and we need to make some room before all those boxes arrive! Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest updates and watch me squeal like a child as I open boxes.
Have a safe and happy 4th everyone. We'll be closed on Wednesday, and open regular hours the rest of the week.
What a wild and wooly year.
I've had entrepreneurs in my family all my life. My aunt and uncle are in real estate. My great uncle owned an antique store. My mother had a restaurant. I've always known how much work entrepreneurship is, and I always swore I would never go into business for myself.
Just over a year ago, I officially opened my doors to the public. Because life laughs in the face of your plans.
And what a year it's been. It's been by turns exhilarating and exhausting, terrific and terrifying, fun and frustrating. Along the way, I've met some of the most interesting women and men I could ever hope to, learned from them and laughed with them. I've made the kind of lifelong friends that become family.
I spent 15 years as a higher education professional, and I still miss my students every day. But every day, I'm also reminded that I made the right decision setting out on my own.
We're hosting this party because I could not have done it without the continuing support of every one of you. People have been beyond generous: bringing me lunches, toiletry samples, painting chairs?!? When I opened with the goal of serving the community with a different kind of yarn store, I never imagined that the community of makers would be so welcoming and generous in return.
I hope you'll join us this Saturday to celebrate our first birthday. You mean the world to me.
P.S. I wasn't kidding about the dance party. If you get there at 11:55 you'll see us shaking our butts before we unlock the doors.
As many of you know, I was traveling with my father in the UK for 10 days, and spent a few of those on the Isle of Man.
The island is beautiful, the people are funny and kind, and everything feels like a fairy tale from the rocky coastline to the sheep roaming free across the mountainsides. Standing on top of a windswept hill, you can understand how and why people developed traditions of myth and storytelling. This is very much a land of dragons and fairies.
While I was there I was introduced to the Manx Loaghton sheep. This rare heritage breed dates back to the iron age, and is believed to have been brought to the island by the vikings. In the 1950s there were less than 100 remaining, but thanks to the dedication of a few people, there are now more than 1000 and the breed continues to survive.
Seeing these sheep in person, and feeling the fibers spun from their locks, I'm reminded that as fiber artists and crafters, we are connected to a tradition of handcrafting that dates back thousands of years. The techniques have evolved but that their core they are still the same: shear, card, spin, create. Where once this was a survival skill, keeping our families warm and protected, now it's an act of love. And it's still keeping our families warm and protected.
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers and father figures reading this. And a very happy Father's Day to my own dad, who has made so much possible for me.
What a week!
Yarn reps are starting to make their way around, and I'm deep into fall ordering. In the next few weeks I'll be meeting with multiple sales representatives to pick out new products I think you will love. Silks, alpaca, Merino. Hand-dye, chainette, blends. This fall, you're going to see some fantastic new yarns, and we're ready to start working up some samples for you.
Some really great people are stepping up to help out while I'm on break, and I'll be announcing any schedule changes soon. They're a little nervous about the new responsibilities, but I know the KGY community will show them as much love, support and respect as it's shown me.
Finally, a very happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers: future and former, biologic and not. This weekend, my own mother will be here in town, and at the same time I'll be sending my "kids" off into the world as they graduate college. This is a weekend of gratitude, both to our mothers, for all they have given us, and to our children, for all they have taught us. Happy Mother's Day, friends.
“Being a mother is an attitude, not a biological relation.”
― Robert A. Heinlein, Have Space Suit—Will Travel