Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Knitting Circle

I come crashing into the house as always, with kids clamouring for Nanny, my arms overloaded with bags, baskets, keys, and little shoes discarded during the twenty minute drive.

My mother welcomes us, as always, with a smile and warm hugs. Through my whole life, this is something I have always been able to count on: my mother's warm welcome. She always greets us with joy, and bustles to put the kettle on.

I make my way into the sunroom, where my mom's friend and my aunts are already sitting, head to head, talking gussets, lace patterns, and wrap-and-turns. Sounds like words you might hear at a convention for burlesque dancers, but we're here to knit socks.

We're all in various stages of sock-knitting. My Aunt Karen wants to learn to knit toe-up socks, and I'm here to finally finish what were supposed to be my 37th Birthday Socks. I got stuck on the heel, and after doing them twice, I'm seeking Marg's help. Marg is a bit of an expert when it comes to socks. She knits them constantly, and donates them, gives them out like candy, like something that didn't take hours of time and expertise to create.

Right now she's working on tiny ones to donate to a Grandmothers to Grandmothers fundraiser (Stephen Lewis' brainchild, to benefit the women in Africa who are raising their grandchildren, orphaned by HIV/AIDS).

With the tea, the old photos come out and my aunts reminisce as my sister and I listen, then laugh uproariously at the way these older sisters tease and shock each other. The talk turns to old boyfriends, and marriage, and those who are now gone.
My own children wander in and out for hugs, and act shyly around these women who look and sound so much like their beloved Nanny. Time folds in on itself, and I remember feeling the same way about my Nanny and her sisters.
The talk turns back to knitting. The unsatisfactory heel: too short. Marg diagnoses the problem: these socks need gussets!

She guides me down the path to sock-greatness.

Life's best moments are these: spending time with people you love, who have known you since you were a child, doing something you love together. With them, I am ageless; their hugs are the same as they were when I was little, their scent and voices extensions of the generations of women who have gone before them.

They say that the best way to ensure that your children are musically inclined is to surround them with people who play music.

I expect that this is the same theory for knitting; my children will never remember a time when they weren't surrounded by women knitting, laughing, drinking tea, and remembering. 


  1. A beautiful post ~ I can't imagine knitting all those beautiful socks and giving them to people you don't even know....a true act of love! October is my "learn to knit month" or learn to knit better! I am going to class tonight! Maybe socks will be in my future!

  2. I am completely envious of this beautiful day and insist that I have advance notice next time, so I can book the day off and attend! I would look after feeding everyone and maybe could be taught to knit some socks, too! maybe a hooky-day for my daughters, as well...
    Looks like it was wonderful. xo

  3. And what beautiful memories they'll be! Thank you so much for sharing this, Stephanie.

  4. I hope I can have a knitting circle like this some day! My son will never know a time when I didn't knit -- I just hope he has an interest in it someday! (And secretly pray for my next baby to be a girl so we can share in these handcrafts together!)

  5. It was fun although my hands held a child as opposed to knitting needles.....still enjoyed the company and the memories and the laughter. Karen's hands look like Nanny's and mom's hands....weird. Love this post!

  6. Lovely post - there is something special about knitting together, isn't there? I love that my children are growing up knowing knitting as an integral part of our household, and I hope that someday I will be able to knit alongside them.

  7. Oh my, Stephanie--I SO wish I could be in that room with all of you!

  8. just simply lovely- for each of you!

  9. I *loved* reading this..... someday I'll have a group of women of my own to knit with!


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