A reader commented on a recent knitting post that for years, she didn’t know there was but one way to cast off. So many of us have probably had that same experience or . . lack of experience.
I’ve told this story on here . . probably many times. But, for anyone who hasn’t read it already, I’ll tell it one more time.
I learned to knit in high school but never knitted much other than a rectangle with TG&Y crunchy acrylic yarn. We would knit these long rectangles, sew up the sides, leaving an end not sewn (flap) and then crochet a long chain and we had a purse!
Probably in my early 30’s or maybe late 20’s . . a lifetime ago it seems, I worked with a young lady whose mom owned a knitting shop in town and I rekindled my love of knitting. Ravelry and Youtube weren’t around back then so it was a learning experience. I started several sweaters but ended up paying someone to finish them. Since I never was able to finish anything, I gave up on knitting.
Then, in probably 2004 or 2005, I kept wanting to knit socks. A blog reader sent me a package with sock yarn, needles, a pattern that I still use today – Classic Socks for the Family by Yankee Knitter Designs. I have made probably 100 pairs of socks through the last dozen or so years and that is still my go to pattern for basic socks. I’ll even sometimes take a lacy design and adapt it to fit the Classic Socks for the Family pattern.
Since it had been so many years since I had knitted, I could not remember how to cast on. I could almost get it, but I just couldn’t remember. I resorted to hanging out on the yarn aisle at Hobby Lobby and everyone who came in looking at yarn, I’d say “Do you knit?” and as soon as someone said yes, I was prepared to ask them to show me how to cast on. Everyone seemed to crochet but there were no knitters. Finally, someone told me there were a group of knitters who met at the Methodist Church once a week. I called the church . . we were living in Kentucky . . found out the day and time and went there to meet them.
They were so nice and welcoming. There were probably 10 or 12 older ladies and they took turns going around their circle showing me how to cast one. Nope, that’s not the way I did it. Nope, not that way either. Instead of realizing there were multiple ways to cast on, I kept going til about Lady #6 and she did the long tail cast on. Within a stitch or two, it all came back to me. I thanked them all and was on my way.
They invited me to come back and knit with them or to come any time I had a question. That experience meant so much to me and I vowed then that I would always stop what I was doing and help anyone who asked for my help, and to this day, I hope I’ve never turned down a request for help, and that folks who know me know I’m willing to share my knowledge and experience . . whether it be gardening, canning, knitting, quilting . . whatever I do.
I go back and look at the people who have stopped what they were doing and helped me and I’m in awe of the generosity of folks and I am still committed to helping anyone who wants my help.
- My grandma . . what a wonderful lady and grandma she was. Most everything I feel is important in my life today, I learned from her. She never sat me down and taught me . . this is how it should be done. I watched. I saw how she lived her life. I learned faith and the power of prayer from her. I watched as she raised her chickens, loving them but knowing they would provide food for the family. I learned that no matter how tired you are, when there’s a job to be done, you keep going til it’s done. I learned the joy of growing and canning your own food. I’ve always had a choice . . she didn’t. They didn’t have grocery stores that were close and money was tight. From her, I learned not only how to love your family, but to let them know they are loved. I wish I could tell her how much she influenced my life. People wonder how I can live out in the middle of nowhere, be so happy staying home and never leaving, spending time with Vince, the garden, the chickens . . I learned it all at a very young age from my grandma.
- Back when I was young . . probably mid-20’s, on my way to work I passed a house, kinda in the middle of a commercial area. There was always an old man out there working. He had the most amazing garden. Finally, after a year or so of loving his garden from the road, I stopped, knocked on his door and he was so happy I’d stopped. He asked me to stop again and again. I did and I learned so much from that elderly gardener. Thank you, Mr. Morgan. He’s long gone . . his house is gone and businesses are where it once stood but every time I’m in Louisiana, I pass the spot where I had admired his garden for so many years and I always think of him.
- I was also fairly young when I was killing time on my lunch hour and walked into a quilt shop . . had no interest in quilting but had nothing else to do, and the little elderly lady working there immediately took me under her wing! Her enthusiasm made me want to become a quilter! She helped me so much with my quilting. She had me over for lunch at least once a week. She made the best lemonade! She taught me to love her homemade kibbeh and then she taught me to make it. When Chad was born, she made him the cutest quilt, which I passed down to Addie. Even though she knew I loved her, I don’t think she had any idea the impact she had on my life. Thank you, Mrs. Broussard.
- The ladies at the Methodist Church in Owensboro, KY. If they had said “We’re a closed group. We have no openings. We don’t have time to help you . . I may have put that skein of sock yarn, the needles and pattern away and never touched knitting again. Thank you, ladies at the Owensboro Methodist Church!
I could go on and on about the people who took the time to share with me . . things that had a tremendous influence in the person I am today. There was nothing special about me . . there was something extremely special about those folks, and so many others, who have taken their time to share with me.
May I always be the one willing to put down what I’m doing and help someone who asks for my help!
Judy Smith says
Great post! I hope all of us who do these crafts will remember this.
Arrowhead Gramma says
What a wonderful post. Thinking we have all had people who have influenced us in our lives and we should do what you did Judy take some time to think about the impact they had on us. Thank you so much for sharing.
Wonderful and loving, Judy. Maybe the most important post of ALL!
Very thought provoking- what kind of impact do we have on others and what we also gain in our contacts with others. Words of wisdom for sure!
Carolyn Sands says
Thnaks for a very thought provoking post. It makes me realize that I probably have taken too much for granted and did not appreciate those who have helped me throughout my life. It makes me realize that I can and must do better.
Linda B says
What a wonderful post to read, especially in this fast paced world. I want you to know what an impact you have made on me learning to cook. My family so appreciates it too. I have learned so much from you and love reading all your blog posts. You are a very special lady!
Nelle Coursey says
I love this Judy! You have helped me so much! I will never be able to repay you for all the knowledge you have passed on to me. And I did take your advice and finally watch the U-Tube when we were doing to Miss Grace. I love being around you and listening to you and learning from you. You challenge me to go on and do something else. You may never know how much you have helped me either. I was in a bad place when Pat had his heart attack and if it had not been for our group, I don’t think I could have made it. I was in such a bad place but you and the other ladies in the knit group helped me get through it. Like you, I hope I can pass on some of the knowledge you have passed on to me! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!
Twyla Starr says
I want to thank you again for all the knowledge you have shared. I try to share what I know and I never understand my “friends” who are so secretive about so many things. I have two friend super dieting. One it is a big secret and the other shares most of her info. Not that I am going to super diet. 500 calories a day is NOT for me.
Robin Crittenden says
From the first time I read your blog and it’s been I bet 10 years I knew you were a giving person. I’ve never met you but I am blessed to know you. Every time I read a post I look forward to your adventures and always learn something. I just wish I had your determination.
Diana Edwards says
Memories are wonderful….
Judy, what a beautiful tribute to those who have helped you along the way! You have helped so many of us with quilting, knitting, gardening, and just life in general, it’s so nice to see that you appreciate all those who have helped you as much as we appreciate you for helping us! And we do!
Amen! The wonderful example has been set, and I like to pass it along, too. I learned so much from watching a paternal grandmother and my mother and aunt. Just watching, like you mentioned. Never even knew I was learning so much.