Monday, January 26, 2015

Mrs Dyson

Around three years ago an elderly lady I know passed away. I knew this lady through many different circles - work, community and even eventually family as her grandson married my step daughter. This lady was so well respected in our small community. She was clever beyond words. She was so unique and funny. She was known for winning a shooting (as in guns) competition every year despite many military members competing against her. She set her own rabbit snares each year and she still drove her own skidoo - well into her eighties. She had a very large family that she cooked and crafted for. When I grow up, I want to be Mrs Dyson or Lockie as she was known around here. 

Mrs Dyson introduced me to the concept of buying good wool sweaters at yard sales and flea markets and unravelling them to re knit later. I loved this idea so much. I've gotten several sweaters worth of yarn for less than 5 bucks!!

She had seen my knitting on several occasions. My step grand babies are her great grandsons. Baby showers in particular is a time when Labrador women like to show off our handcrafting skills. I imagine it's like that everywhere. Every cute thing garners oohs and aahs but nothing quite like something handcrafted. And let me tell you, Labrador women can spot something handcrafted from a mile away.  She told me that she admired my knitting. This was such a compliment, I can't even describe how this made me feel. Like I imagine winning a blue ribbon for my knitting at a fair would feel. 

Another time I knit a delicate lace scarf for her daughters 50th birthday. Mrs Dyson picked up that scarf and turned it over and over - inspecting it. I don't think I was that nervous about my knitting since I passed in a swatch to "Brown Owl" when I was 7 years old to get my knitting badge for Brownies. 

But she proclaimed it to be beautiful and because  she was Lockie, I believed it to be beautiful as well. 

Mrs Dyson had the luxury of knowing she was passing. I know this sounds morbid but I've known people to pass before they get their affairs in order and I find it extremely sad. Mrs Dyson got to say goodbye to the people that she loved and that is a real gift. 

She also asked me to take her knitting and to finish up some things she had been making for gifts but was too weakened by disease to finish. I was honoured. 

It was a pair of color work ski socks that I  never did finish for many reasons - the biggest being that we had a house fire the summer of 2012 and the project got  severely damaged. I've always bad about this. I felt like I owed her something. 

When her daughters were going through her things when she passed they came across a lot of yarn. They asked me to come down and help them go through it and pick some things out for myself. 

In the end I took just about all of the 100% wool yarn myself (there was lots!) and the acrylic yarn (there was even more!) I took as well and left up in the girl guide supply room for the girls and their leaders to use for any type of yarn craft they may do. 

This whole process gave me the heebiejeebies and I couldn't help but think of when the time comes for my daughter and step daughters to go through my stuff. They are gonna hate me!!  I've got to start knitting more and buying less.  

Among the yarn that I took there were about 10 skeins of this super chunky yarn that was 100% wool and made by Spinrite. The labels were very very old and I could only assume the yarn was too. 

Lockies grand daughter Tara is having a baby. Tara is also Blair's sister. I really wanted to make something for this baby that was from Lockie. I wanted to repay her for all the yarn she gave me and I wanted to own up to the promise that I made her when she was dying - that I finish those ski socks. 

I went on Ravelry and found just the pattern. It was for a bunting bag. I remember when my daughter was little I got lots of use from a bunting bag. A gift from Mrs Dyson had to be useful. Nothing frivolous would do. 

So I knit and knit. Not a difficult pattern at all. It almost knit itself. It almost felt as though Mrs Dyson was guiding my hands. As I knit, I thought about the little one who would be using this item. I thought about his (she had the baby! A boy!!) mom and how she took such good care of herself to make sure that he had the best possible start in life.

 I thought about his extended family. His little cousins (my grandsons) and how much they loved him already and how they would help him get into and out of trouble. 

I thought about his Gram, my friend Denise, who is positively crazy about her grandchildren. I worried about her so much. She had a bad accident a couple of weeks ago. I worried she would miss this little guys arrival. I worried about how heart broken she would be not to be there for her daughter. I knit these worries into the bag too. Perhaps the gauge is a little tighter in places because of this. 

 I thought about his Uncle - my son in law - who is one of the bravest and most hardworking men I know. I thought what a great role model he would be.

 I thought about his Auntie - my step daughter. I thought about the great mom that she is and I knew she would be there to offer guidance and advise to his mom. And I knit all of these thoughts into this simple little bunting bag. 

And I knit on .... 

And as I put the finishing touches on this simple little bag I hoped that he would always be warm and surrounded by the love of his wonderful family. 

I know they will tell him stories about his great Gram. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015


It's 2015. It's hard to believe how fast the past year went. In retrospect it was a great year - crafting and otherwise. We seemed to travel a lot in 2014. We bought a motorhome! Kevin had some health issues but thankfully all is well now. And I guess the biggest news is that he is retired. 

People keep asking me when I will retire. I'm a good 10 years younger than Kevin and I'm not quite there yet. I love my job still. I enjoy going to work every day.  I guess when it stops being fun, I'll stop doing it.

I've included some photos of the handknits that I made for Christmas gifts this year. 

First up is this hat that Max is wearing. He's wearing it incorrectly. He has the seam in the front. By the way, this is my daughter's boyfriend Max - not my grandson Max. I don't have a time machine. 

It's a Woolly Wormhead pattern. She has the best hat patterns. This hat is for Lucy of course.

These socks I made for my nephew Jordan. The yarn is called perfect turtle toes. The hand dyer is from New Brunswick. She dyes wonderful self striping yarn. And she winds them into two perfectly matching little cakes so that your socks will turn out perfectly.  This color is called dream room.

And this color is called Gatineau fall. It's based off of a famous painting. I did look the painting up but I can't remember the artist but indeed those colors are prevalent. These are for big Max as he's been known around these parts lately.  Some of you may notice that this is his second pair of socks that I've knit. 
He is such a wonderful recipient that I do feel inclined to knit him more pairs. Amy tells me he wears his first pair all the time - even to bed. One time he left them here on a visit and I had to mail them back to Gatineau. Amy said he was so happy to get them in the mail that he hugged them to his chest and said "my socks, my socks." Now I ask you how is a knitter to refuse someone who really appreciates socks like that? Not me.