I am constantly amazed at how one skein of yarn and a pair of knitting needles connects lives across generations and across cultures. For centuries, women have shared and passed on their knitting skills. For generations, especially in colder climates, young girls were required to learn how to knit. Their families relied upon the woolen mittens, hats, and sweaters for warmth in the harsh winter weather. Every region of the world seemed to develop its own style of knitted wear as well as its own knitting techniques.
Today, in my own home, two women touched my life with one skein of yarn and one pair of knitting needles. Helga from Switzerland and Christiana from France came to the area for a vacation and we were the fortunate B&B owners with whom they have stayed. They had done their research before arriving and knew that I sold yarn and produced my own fiber here on our farm. Their first morning here, they inquired about seeing the yarn. After breakfast, I lead them to my fiber studio and revealed the yarn from our sheep, goats, and llama. Their exclamations were such an encouragement to me. With arms full of skeins of yarn, I could see that these women had been knitting from a very young age. They talked of cables, designs, colors, and patterns and I knew that in their minds, they had already knit their projects.
When I heard them speak of knitting with many cables, I mentioned that I had never learned how to do that. Cables seem mysterious to me and far too complex. They assured me that they were not and insisted on giving me a lesson the next day. So this morning, as I served them breakfast, they asked if I had my swatch ready to practice doing cables. As soon as breakfast ended, we sat together on the sofa with yarn and needles in hand. I will always cherish that moment. For just a short period of time, our lives were connected through that yarn. Though our knitting terminology differed, Christiana had no difficulty explaining to me what I needed to do. Isn’t this what hand work is all about? Passing on your own knowledge to others. Sitting with other women, sharing knowledge, sharing lives.
Christiana and Helga will go home to Switzerland and France with much of our yarn packed into their bags. They will sit at their homes on the other side of the world and knit with my VT yarn and I will sit here at home this winter, knitting a sweater and practicing what they have taught me. Thank you ladies!