Friday, November 09, 2007

Harvard Square Here I Come!

For over fifteen years, my Mom and Dad and our extended family would meet in Cambridge, MA for the semi-annual University of Pennsylvania vs. Harvard Football Game. My Dad, a son of German and English immigrants, went to Penn on a full athletic scholarship back in the late 40’s. Dad was a "southpaw" – a left-handed pitcher with a mean fastball. He never forgot the generosity the school paid him by giving him an Ivy League education. He chose to support his alma mater both financially and spiritually by rooting for the team no matter where they played. My mom, my sisters and I – “his girls” - were an accessory for his passion and we willingly went along.

All football season, we were dragged from school to school to cheer on Penn as they faced opponent after opponent.
We were supplied with red and blue cheerleading pom poms and we learned all the university fight songs. We ate hot dogs with mustard and hot chocolate on the concrete bleachers to try to keep warm. We learned to love soft, hot pretzels with mustard - a Philadelphia tradition. If Penn won, we had a good ride home to NJ. It they lost, it was awful – Dad’s spirits completely dampened and his mood cranky and ornery. During these years, Penn wasn't very good and so we had a lot of tough rides home, cigar smoke swirling around the car making it hard to breathe easily. "Please Daddy, open the window!" we would all chime in. To this day, when I get a whiff of cigar smoke I can't help but think of my dad.

The trips to Philly went on and on our teen years and we began following our own local high school football team.
Dad’s support for Penn never dwindled and after all the girls were off on their own, he and Mom religiously went to game after game cheering on the team and developing some fun friendships with many of the other crazy alumni.

When two of my sisters and I ended up in New England, Mom and Dad started to come to the Harvard games and a long family tradition began. As sister after sister married, husbands came along. Then grandchild after grandchild was born, and they started tagging along. One Penn weekend, my sister Nancy went into labor and we anxiously watched the game wondering how she was doing with the birthing and whether we would have a niece or a nephew.

This weekend, my niece Celia is turning fourteen. My Dad has been gone almost three years. Fifteen of us are descending on Harvard Square, including my Mom who is traveling from NJ. We’re going to tailgate in a parking lot and then go to the game. I’m sure a few tears will be shed when the band plays the Penn fight song but we’ll all go, remembering all the fun we have had as a family cheering the team on.

Now, I know you are wondering where this all is going on a stitching blog….. I developed my own little tradition of going to the Penn/Harvard game. You see, quite close to the stadium, there is a wonderful yarn store named Woolcott on Mt. Auburn Street. I’m not much for football games in November – they can be cold, damp and rather snowy. So usually after the half-time festivities are over, I sneak on over to the warm and cozy yarnstore that is Woolcott. Over the years, I have known and loved the different owners. First the gracious and sensible “Cynthia from Woolcott.” Next, I so enjoyed the spirit and crazy style of the outrageous “Nicki from Woolcott.” This Saturday, I am meeting, for the first time, the new owner “Sean from Woolcott.” He is really excited about the event and I hope that some diehard knitters will come! I’ll be doing a booksigning from 2:30 to 3:30 and I’ll have lots of samples from my new book Kristin Knits. If you arrive towards the end of the signing, you'll get to meet The Farmer, Julia and my mom, sisters and everyone else. (Do you think I should tell Sean about this part?)

If you are local to Cambridge, I would really love to meet you! Stop by if you can.


So what the heck is this little baby doing on this post, you ask? You see, the sweater is called “The Harvard Square Cardigan.” I designed it for Knitting For Baby, a book I co-authored with Melanie Falick. I’ve heard there are lots of these little sweaters gracing little ones all over the USA. If you are a new knitter or know a new one, this book is a great starting point – it teaches you in a very friendly way how to knit, to purl. The projects begin simply and readably in normal language and then progress up to cables, colorwork, felting and knitting language. You can purchase it on my website.

13 comments:

Lindsey said...

I'm so sad I'm going to miss you! I'm traveling from Boston down to the fam in NJ this weekend. Have fun at Woolcott! Sean is super nice.

Connie said...

I went to Harvard and love Cambridge. Glad you're getting a chance to combine a family trip with business. I've heard that the Square has changed a lot since I've been there (late 90s). Have fun out there! I also wanted to say that I absolutely love your Harvard Square cardi from Knitting for Baby. I've made many items for friends' babies from there over the years - not your cardi yet, but it'll be made at some point too :)

Kathleen C. said...

One of my favorite things to do with my Dad is to call him during a Navy game and yell "Go Navy" into the phone. I wear my Navy socks too, even though he can't see them.

Calling on Kahlo said...

I love Knitting for Baby, it is one of those books I love the look, the designs, everything. A great addition to anyone's library.

Lynn said...

Oh, those pretzels from Philly! I miss them so much - I ate two at Rhinebeck, and hardly anything else, just because I love those pretzels. Thanks for reminding me, and have fun at Woolcott!

Lisa said...

I'm hoping to make over to Wolcott tomorrow to see you and your new book. It sounds like tomorrow will definitely be more of a yarn store day than a sitting outside day!

Carolyn said...

I love your Penn story! Our family went to ALL the home Purdue games, and the occasional away game. And we learned the fight song at about the same time we learned "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" Such fun memories!

Have a great time at the game, and at Woolcott!

Carolyn

Jo in Boston said...

I met you many years ago at Woolcott when I was working there (for Cynthia) and you were working for Classic Elite. I wish I could make it there tomorrow (fortunately I've already gotten my book from you).

ROZ said...

I love the sweater. I like to knit for babies. I'll even knit a baby sweater for no baby in particular, and save it in a drawer until a baby comes along in the family, or a friend.

woolywoman said...

I learned to knit from your book! I was on bed rest with a tough pregnancy. I had crocheted, but never knit. I would call the LYS owner, pay by credit card, and she would package up the yarn. The my husband would pick up the bag. To this day, she asks me," would you like your reciept in the bag, or shall I destroy the evidence?" The garter hat is still my go to baby present. What a wonderful book.

Connie said...

KFB was one of my first knitting books along with Kids Knitting, heck I have all your books. That sweater is my go to baby gift and never ceases to please! LOVE LOVE LOVE Kristin Knits!!! Can't wait to dig into it.
Thanks for all the nice stories, too!

Kirsten said...

Hope you had fun at the game! I just got my Winter issue of Interweave Knits and read the article about you. I didn't realize that you were a fellow U of D grad! Go Blue Hens! :) I'm located in MA now too, but try to make the trip to the Philly/DE area once a year to visit old roommates/friends, etc. And btw, I can't wait to purchase a copy of your new book - it looks fabulous!

Mama Urchin said...

As i started reading this post I was thinking about that baby sweater so it was funny to see it in the end. I so love that book.